squal·​id | \ ˈskwä-ləd How to pronounce squalid (audio) \

Definition of squalid

1 : marked by filthiness and degradation from neglect or poverty
2 : sordid

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Other Words from squalid

squalidly adverb
squalidness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for squalid

dirty, filthy, foul, nasty, squalid mean conspicuously unclean or impure. dirty emphasizes the presence of dirt more than an emotional reaction to it. a dirty littered street filthy carries a strong suggestion of offensiveness and typically of gradually accumulated dirt that begrimes and besmears. a stained greasy floor, utterly filthy foul implies extreme offensiveness and an accumulation of what is rotten or stinking. a foul-smelling open sewer nasty applies to what is actually foul or is repugnant to one expecting freshness, cleanliness, or sweetness. it's a nasty job to clean up after a sick cat In practice, nasty is often weakened to the point of being no more than a synonym of unpleasant or disagreeable. had a nasty fall his answer gave her a nasty shock squalid adds to the idea of dirtiness and filth that of slovenly neglect. squalid slums All these terms are also applicable to moral uncleanness or baseness or obscenity. dirty then stresses meanness or despicableness don't ask me to do your dirty work , while filthy and foul describe disgusting obscenity or loathsome behavior filthy street language a foul story of lust and greed , and nasty implies a peculiarly offensive unpleasantness. a stand-up comedian known for nasty humor Distinctively, squalid implies sordidness as well as baseness and dirtiness. engaged in a series of squalid affairs

Examples of squalid in a Sentence

The family lived in squalid conditions.

Recent Examples on the Web

Wong Chut King lived in squalid conditions in the cellar of San Francisco’s Globe Hotel. Julia Flynn Siler, WSJ, "‘Black Death at the Golden Gate’ Review: San Francisco’s Plague Years," 5 May 2019 Conditions in the camps are often squalid, with little clean water, sanitation or medical supplies. Cara Anna, The Seattle Times, "‘It’s not safe anywhere:’ Mozambique cyclone scattered lives," 30 Mar. 2019 Amid pouring rain and squalid conditions of the camp in Tijuana, several refugees announced a hunger strike on Thursday, November 29. Ari Honarvar, Teen Vogue, "Migrants and Advocates Explain the Migrant Caravan Hunger Strike Protesting U.S. Asylum Policy," 4 Dec. 2018 Accusations have included hasty automated evictions, delayed or ignored maintenance requests, squalid living conditions, unchecked bug infestations, and automated annual rent increases. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Single-family rental companies turn to Opendoor, Offerpad for new inventory," 3 Dec. 2018 Details of the squalid conditions, physical abuse and forced prostitution of the victims began to come to light in charging documents and the case gained national attention. Fox News, "Street preacher gets 27 years in 'Basement of Horrors' case," 13 Sep. 2018 On a recent visit to a detention center on the outskirts of Juba, AP spoke with several inmates held for days and weeks in squalid conditions without being charged. Sam Mednick, The Seattle Times, "South Sudan accused of killings, torture, squalor in jails," 4 Sep. 2018 On April 20, Lawrence Ingram was sentenced to 20 years in prison for first-degree reckless homicide in the November 2017 killing of Victor W. Rogers at a squalid homeless encampment on Milwaukee’s south side. Jesse Garza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "From high school star to homeless addict to convicted killer: The Lawrence Ingram story," 30 Apr. 2018 The same can be said of their brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, whose limbs may be intact, but who lost everything, who saw too much, who fled into exile in Uganda or squalid camps in Congo. Nick Turse, Teen Vogue, "The Democratic Republic of Congo Has Humanitarian Crises Leaving Millions of Children In Danger," 14 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'squalid.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of squalid

1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for squalid

Latin squalidus rough, dirty, from squalēre to be covered with scales or dirt, from squalus dirty; perhaps akin to Latin squama scale

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Statistics for squalid

Last Updated

22 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for squalid

The first known use of squalid was in 1596

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More Definitions for squalid



English Language Learners Definition of squalid

: very dirty and unpleasant
: immoral or dishonest


squal·​id | \ ˈskwä-ləd How to pronounce squalid (audio) \

Kids Definition of squalid

: filthy or degraded from a lack of care or money They lived in squalid conditions.

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More from Merriam-Webster on squalid

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with squalid

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for squalid

Spanish Central: Translation of squalid

Nglish: Translation of squalid for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of squalid for Arabic Speakers

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