squa·​lor | \ ˈskwä-lər also ˈskwā- or ˈskwȯ- How to pronounce squalor (audio) \

Definition of squalor

: 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

The funding has been approved, and city leaders are under pressure to swiftly address the squalor and misery on the streets, but the question of where to build remains politically fraught. Shelby Grad, latimes.com, "Essential California: Fury by the border," 19 June 2018 In the midst of squalor, surrounded by adult predators and parents too mired in their own poverty and misery to protect the young and vulnerable, Zain uses his wits and his inner decency to try to do the right thing. Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times, "‘Capernaum’: A street kid in Beirut tries to do the right thing in powerful Oscar-nominated film," 5 Feb. 2019 Horrific testimony of starvation, squalor and bizarre punishment was presented Wednesday. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Turpin sister's photos of shackled siblings draw gasps in court," 21 June 2018 What Ben Carson’s agency has really meant for the squalor of people who are still paying these contractors enormous amounts of money not to fix their houses. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: NBC journalists Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell and Hallie Jackson on Recode Decode," 5 Dec. 2018 The characters in Kore-eda’s film, which took the top prize at Cannes, are jumbled together in multigenerational squalor (and include a bumbling grandmotherly matriarch, Hatsue). Chloe Schama, Vogue, "Shoplifters Is One of 2018’s Most Stunning Films," 28 Nov. 2018 Men, women and children languished there in conditions of almost unimaginable squalor, brutality, overcrowding, starvation, verminous infestation and neglect. Patrick Mcgrath, New York Times, "A Dumping Ground for the Poor, the Criminal and the Mad," 28 June 2018 In one pick, fans of the worst teams in football can see the player who will lead them out of the squalor—or the one who will be the face of the team’s continued ignominy. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "The Big Questions That Will Shape the NFL Draft," 26 Apr. 2018 Despite their rich and well-connected pedigree, the mother and daughter pair were almost completely isolated from the outside world and, surprisingly, were living in abject squalor. refinery29.com, "Why Fashion People Love Cult Film Grey Gardens," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'squalor.' 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 squalor

1621, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for squalor

Latin, from squalēre

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Statistics for squalor

Last Updated

26 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for squalor

The first known use of squalor was in 1621

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English Language Learners Definition of squalor

: very bad and dirty conditions


squal·​or | \ ˈskwä-lər How to pronounce squalor (audio) \

Kids Definition of squalor

: the quality or state of being squalid The children had to live in squalor.

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More from Merriam-Webster on squalor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with squalor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for squalor

Spanish Central: Translation of squalor

Nglish: Translation of squalor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of squalor for Arabic Speakers

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