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

  • adj. Dirty and wretched, as from poverty or lack of care. See Synonyms at dirty.
  • adj. Morally repulsive; sordid: "the squalid atmosphere of intrigue, betrayal, and counterbetrayal” ( W. Bruce Lincoln).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Extremely dirty and unpleasant.
  • adj. Showing a contemptible lack of moral standards.
  • n. Any member of the Squalidae.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Dirty through neglect; foul; filthy; extremely dirty.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Foul; filthy; extremely dirty: as, a squalid beggar; a squalid house.
  • Rough; shaggy.

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

  • adj. foul and run-down and repulsive
  • adj. morally degraded


Latin squālidus, from squālēre, to be filthy, from squālus, filthy.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin squalidus, from squalere ‘be rough or dirty’. (Wiktionary)


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  • "He looked at the cuff of his shirt, which had been somewhat squalid before their long night in the greasy chaise, and which was now a disgrace to the ship."
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Letter of Marque, 146

    February 29, 2008