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

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 Use Next and Previous buttons to navigate SAN ANTONIO — A couple is facing child endangerment charges after their four children — as young as 2 and as old as 13 — were found living in squalor Monday afternoon on the Northeast Side. Jacob Beltran, San Antonio Express-News, 23 May 2022 De León objected, saying that the small structures were a huge step up for people who had been living in squalor on the streets. James Rainey, Los Angeles Times, 20 May 2022 In Central Falls, the family lived in squalor at 128 Washington St., and Viola enrolled in kindergarten at Broadstreet School. Lauren Daley, BostonGlobe.com, 17 May 2022 The inhabitants live in squalor, moral as well as physical. The New Yorker, 2 May 2022 Along the way, his visits to the bursting-at-the-seams refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos and the mounting squalor in Bangladesh (the site of his first reportage back in 1971) reveal additional humanitarian crises. Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times, 29 Apr. 2022 According to case reports from the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), the five siblings lived in squalor and rarely left the home. Matt Bruce, ajc, 22 Apr. 2022 Faced with the reality of his impending mortality, Ptolemy lives alone in squalor, unable to overcome the frightening and dizzying haze of his dementia. NBC News, 13 Mar. 2022 Gergiev has campaigned with Putin and defended his record to the West, saying that Putin had saved Russia from the depths of national humiliation and squalor in the 1990s. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, 7 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of squalor

1621, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for squalor

Latin, from squalēre

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Time Traveler for squalor

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The first known use of squalor was in 1621

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Last Updated

26 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Squalor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/squalor. Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for squalor


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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