squa·​lor ˈskwä-lər How to pronounce squalor (audio)
 also  ˈskwā-,
 or  ˈskwȯ-
: the quality or state of being squalid

Examples of squalor in a Sentence

The family was living in squalor. I was shocked by the squalor of their surroundings.
Recent Examples on the Web Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga, the executive director of ALAS and a mental health provider, said the extent of squalor people were living in was often hidden from nonprofit staff, not to mention local officials. Kate Talerico, The Mercury News, 5 Apr. 2024 And Lena, a nonagenarian widow with no children who existed in squalor and paranoia, out of touch with relatives living close by. Dan Barry, New York Times, 7 Mar. 2024 Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund's film feels like a good novel, with art, crime, love, and squalor all intersecting in a cohesive story that manages to astonish. Eric Farwell, EW.com, 27 Oct. 2023 The rough-and-tumble Bottoms Even in Cincinnati’s Queen City heyday, high society abutted next to squalor. Jeff Suess, The Enquirer, 3 Mar. 2024 And those are the people living in squalor on the streets. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 12 Feb. 2024 But, like Hole in the Wall, J’s showed persistence in its squalor. David J. Neal, Miami Herald, 26 Jan. 2024 As the world can see on cable and social media, 80% of Gaza’s 2.2 million people are now refugees living in squalor. Trudy Rubin, The Mercury News, 17 Jan. 2024 Residents there filed a lawsuit in 2022 accusing him of overcharging for rent while leaving the property in squalor. Christopher Weber, Los Angeles Times, 5 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'squalor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin, from squalēre

First Known Use

1621, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of squalor was in 1621

Dictionary Entries Near squalor

Cite this Entry

“Squalor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/squalor. Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


squa·​lor ˈskwäl-ər How to pronounce squalor (audio)
: filthy or degraded conditions resulting from neglect or lack of money
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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