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

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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



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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 Instead, its turbid waters are infested with nonnative invasive plants and fish, particularly carp that had been deliberately introduced in 1883. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Sep. 2021 Maddox said operators at the Ed Love Raw Water Intake Station began noticing signs of a water leak about 6 a.m. this morning, meaning turbid water and depressurization. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al, 20 June 2021 Trap nets are always most effective on lakes with turbid water that distorts the fish’s vision. Dallas News, 8 May 2021 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, 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, 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, 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, 16 June 2020 White crappies can also tolerate warm, turbid waters, silted streams, and slow-flowing rivers. Popular Science, 1 June 2020

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.

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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

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Last Updated

14 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Turbid.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/turbid. Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for turbid



English Language Learners Definition of turbid

: 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

Nglish: Translation of turbid for Spanish Speakers


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