Definition of sordid in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈsôrdəd/


1Involving ignoble actions and motives; arousing moral distaste and contempt: the story paints a sordid picture of bribes and scams
More example sentences
  • Fortunately for him, he will not be contemplating his sad and sordid crime from the inside of a prison cell.
  • Another motive, the sordid one, is the craving for gossip, particularly the naughty kind.
  • The Dutroux case, which uncovered a sordid picture of judicial and political corruption, implicated the highest levels of Belgian society.
sleazy, dirty, seedy, seamy, unsavory, tawdry, cheap, debased, degenerate, dishonorable, disreputable, discreditable, contemptible, ignominious, shameful, abhorrent
1.1Dirty or squalid: the overcrowded housing conditions were sordid and degrading
More example sentences
  • After 18 months of complaining to various authorities and writing to the Craven Herald, the town hall entrance is still filthy and sordid.
  • At present you spend your lives in sordid labour, your abode in filthy slums; your children hunger and your masters say your slavery must endure forever.
squalid, slummy, insalubrious, dirty, filthy, foul, mucky, grimy, shabby, messy, soiled, scummy, unclean
informal cruddy, grungy, crummy, scuzzy, skeevy



Pronunciation: /ˈsôrdədlē/
Example sentences
  • He examines Flynn's life frankly, but never sordidly.
  • Hsiao-kang's compulsive attempts to escape the alienating isolation of Taipei become, then, sordidly futile, tinted ironically with the female's colorless lonesomeness in Paris.
  • But there was something sordidly exciting about the offer.


Pronunciation: /ˈsôrdədnəs/
Example sentences
  • He lived a secretive, closeted life, tormented by illicit desires and guilt at what he called, in one diary entry, ‘the sordidness of much of my past.’
  • I think what I was commenting on there was the fact that I despise sordidness and low-life, and avoided it at all costs.
  • After calls to 8 or 10 other producers in town, none of whom was willing to get involved with such sordidness, Leslie told them to call me.


Late Middle English (as a medical term in the sense 'purulent'): from French sordide or Latin sordidus, from sordere 'be dirty'. The current senses date from the early 17th century.

Words that rhyme with sordid

unrecorded, unrewarded

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sor·did

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.