Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Filthy or dirty; foul.
  • adj. Depressingly squalid; wretched: sordid shantytowns.
  • adj. Morally degraded: "The sordid details of his orgies stank under his very nostrils” ( James Joyce). See Synonyms at mean2.
  • adj. Exceedingly mercenary; grasping.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Dirty or squalid.
  • adj. Morally degrading.
  • adj. Grasping.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Filthy; foul; dirty.
  • adj. Vile; base; gross; mean.
  • adj. Meanly avaricious; covetous; niggardly.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Dirty; filthy; squalid; foul.
  • In bot, and zoology, of a dull or dirty hue; impure; muddy: noting a color when it appears as if clouded by admixture with another, or parts so colored: as, sordid blue, etc.
  • Morally foul; gross; base; vile; ignoble; selfish; miserly.
  • Low; menial; groveling.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. morally degraded
  • adj. unethical or dishonest
  • adj. foul and run-down and repulsive
  • adj. meanly avaricious and mercenary

Etymologies

Middle English sordide, festering, purulent, from Latin sordidus, dirty, from sordēre, to be dirty.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin sordidus, from sordēre ("be dirty"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • As a result of the grand jury's report on what it called "sordid, shocking acts," Monsignor William Lynn, former secretary of the clergy in the Archdiocese, faces charges of child endangerment.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • DALLAS - Texas prosecutors on Thursday abruptly ended a three-year criminal probe into what they called a sordid small-town swinger's club where children as young as 5 were forced into performing sex.

    Breaking News: CBS News

  • The majority of the world's people live in sordid conditions, deprived of basic necessities.

    Democracy in India

  • Three years passed in sordid struggle and disappointment.

    The Promised Land

  • It’s all very fine in its way, but somehow it’s what I call sordid and the port is terrible.

    Cargo of Eagles

  • Around this time, notice, he didn't give specific dates as he's, you know, recalling his sordid history he didn't give specific dates.

    CNN Transcript Oct 28, 2009

  • Russian literature, faced with the realities of modern life, a spirit titanic and in clash with its material, and produced in the mastery of this every-day material, commonly called sordid, a phantasmagoria intense with beauty.

    Taras Bulba

  • The nomad and romantic in him, troubled and restless with Ukrainian myth, legend, and song, impressed upon Russian literature, faced with the realities of modern life, a spirit titanic and in clash with its material, and produced in the mastery of this every-day material, commonly called sordid, a phantasmagoria intense with beauty.

    Taras Bulba and Other Tales

  • If you can recall the sordid scenario and silly media circus which surrounded the tawdry

    NewsBlaze.com Current News - Top Stories

  • • Après-ski that could be described as sordid and tacky

    Telegraph.co.uk: news, business, sport, the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Sunday Telegraph

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Comments

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  • Johnathan Kellerman-Flesh and Blood: " I suppose. And Lauren did say she liked you... All right, its nothing sordid, anyway"

    November 12, 2010

  • "Unless some formal inquiry is convened to look into a sordid history that reached its depths in the Bush era, and so begins to break this cycle of deceit, exposé, and paralysis followed by more of the same, we're likely, a few years hence, to find ourselves right back where we are now."
    - Alfred W. McCoy, Confronting the CIA's Mind Maze, tomdispatch.com, 7 June 2009.

    June 8, 2009