Definition of squalor in English:



  • [mass noun] The state of being extremely dirty and unpleasant, especially as a result of poverty or neglect.

    ‘they lived in squalor and disease’
    • ‘The musicals of the '30s are enjoyable, in part because they don't dwell on misfortune and squalor and poverty.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the only two city shelters sank further into squalor and disrepair.’
    • ‘Ten months after the disaster, most of the victims are still living in squalor.’
    • ‘To medieval city-dwellers, especially the poor, rural squalor was a terrible and recent memory.’
    • ‘The great majority of the population lived in varying degrees of squalor.’
    • ‘They have been abandoned by their owners and now house illegal tenants who live in squalor and fear.’
    • ‘Many live in squalor, some in tent villages, others in ramshackle public buildings.’
    • ‘She's content to live in utter squalor, while the detritus of daily living piles up around her.’
    • ‘London's population had continued to grow and many lived in squalor and poverty.’
    • ‘But patience has run out among people who have been living in squalor.’
    • ‘He died there in October 1774 amid scenes of unbelievable squalor.’
    • ‘But the residents say they are being forced to live in near squalor by a council that seems to have forgotten they exist.’
    • ‘It is a country beset by poverty, squalor, inequality and violence.’
    • ‘The heat, humidity and squalor of the flooded city is causing panic and desperation.’
    • ‘He claims that his family's early life on the north bank of the River Aire in Leeds was one of squalor.’
    • ‘They live in appalling squalor with very little food, shelter or medical supplies.’
    • ‘Buchanan Street's George Hotel was the essential backdrop for any film director looking to portray urban squalor.’
    • ‘Perhaps it was her upbringing in the slums of Dundee, where squalor and drunkenness were a sad part of daily life, that made her more able to cope.’
    • ‘They are places of appalling squalor, repression and violence, where a few dollars earned by running drugs is a good wage.’
    • ‘There was none of the filth and squalor they regarded as inseparable from city life.’
    dirt, dirtiness, squalidness, filth, filthiness, grubbiness, grime, griminess, muck, muckiness, slumminess, foulness, vileness, poverty, wretchedness, dinginess, meanness, nastiness, seediness, shabbiness, sordidness, sleaziness, insalubrity, slovenliness, repulsiveness
    neglect, decay, dilapidation
    scruffiness, scuzziness, crumminess, grunge, grunginess, rattiness, tackiness
    View synonyms


Early 17th century: from Latin, from squalere be dirty.