tur·​bid | \ ˈtər-bəd How to pronounce turbid (audio) \

Definition of turbid

1a : thick or opaque with or as if with roiled sediment a turbid stream
b : heavy with smoke or mist
2a : deficient in clarity or purity : foul, muddy turbid depths of degradation and misery— C. I. Glicksberg
b : characterized by or producing obscurity (as of mind or emotions) an emotionally turbid response

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from turbid

turbidity \ ˌtər-​ˈbi-​də-​tē How to pronounce turbid (audio) \ noun
turbidly \ ˈtər-​bəd-​lē How to pronounce turbid (audio) \ adverb
turbidness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for turbid



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?

Turbid and "turgid" (which means "swollen or distended" or "overblown, pompous, or bombastic") are frequently mistaken for one another, and it's no wonder. Not only do the two words differ by only a letter, they are often used in contexts where either word could fit. For example, a flooded stream can be simultaneously cloudy and swollen, and badly written prose might be both unclear and grandiloquent. Nevertheless, the distinction between these two words, however fine, is an important one for conveying exact shades of meaning, so it's a good idea to keep them straight.

Examples of turbid in a Sentence

the pond water became turbid from our swimming and splashing
Recent Examples on the Web Originating in the Great Dismal Swamp of Virginia, just south of the Chesapeake Bay, the Elizabeth River is turbid and brackish, its banks redolent with the nose-wrinkling stench of rotting vegetation. Carrie Arnold, The Atlantic, "This Tiny Fish Can Withstand Almost Anything," 15 Mar. 2021 However, remora’s suction disks have more than enough grip to withstand even the most turbid of placements on the whale’s body. Tara Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Surfing Suckerfish Stick to Whales," 5 Nov. 2020 The resulting flood, which experts described as an event that happens perhaps once every 100 to 200 years, swamped the city’s infrastructure, destroying homes, sweeping away bridges and turning roads into turbid rivers of mud and debris. Washington Post, "Hurricane Sally lashes Gulf coast," 17 Sep. 2020 That’s not an issue on overcast days or in turbid water, so slow down your retrieve in darker conditions. Alex Robinson, Outdoor Life, "How to Fish for Bass Like a Pro: Spinnerbait Tips from Kevin VanDam," 16 June 2020 White crappies can also tolerate warm, turbid waters, silted streams, and slow-flowing rivers. Popular Science, "A beginner’s guide to freshwater fishing," 1 June 2020 Much of it reads like a nightmare, a dense and turbid vision of African-American history, a tortured questioning of how to survive as a black man in a white world, in Ailey’s day and now. New York Times, "Music, Theater and More to Experience at Home This Weekend," 16 Apr. 2020 Underwater optics have improved dramatically in recent years, providing distortion-free views and excellent performance even in turbid water or low-light conditions. Field & Stream, "10 High-Tech Tools to Change the Way You Ice Fish," 18 Dec. 2019 In June, in a lush valley at 4000 meters—more than two vertical kilometers below Chimborazo's summit—geographer Jeff La Frenierre stood waist deep in a concrete irrigation channel flowing with turbid water. Tim Appenzeller, Science | AAAS, "Global warming has made iconic Andean peak unrecognizable," 11 Sep. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of turbid

1626, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for turbid

Latin turbidus confused, turbid, from turba confusion, crowd, probably from Greek tyrbē confusion

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about turbid

Listen to Our Podcast about turbid

Statistics for turbid

Last Updated

18 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Turbid.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/turbid. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for turbid



English Language Learners Definition of turbid

formal, of a liquid : not clean or clear : cloudy or muddy


tur·​bid | \ ˈtər-bəd How to pronounce turbid (audio) \

Kids Definition of turbid

: dark or discolored with sediment a turbid stream


tur·​bid | \ ˈtər-bəd How to pronounce turbid (audio) \

Medical Definition of turbid

: thick or opaque with matter in suspension : cloudy or muddy in appearance turbid urine

More from Merriam-Webster on turbid

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for turbid

Nglish: Translation of turbid for Spanish Speakers

Comments on turbid

What made you want to look up turbid? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!