Definition of sordid in English:



  • 1Involving ignoble actions and motives; arousing moral distaste and contempt.

    ‘the story paints a sordid picture of bribes and scams’
    • ‘Add to that you have the tax dodge of offshore accounts and you have a rather sordid picture.’
    • ‘The Dutroux case, which uncovered a sordid picture of judicial and political corruption, implicated the highest levels of Belgian society.’
    • ‘This story is sordid and shameful, and everyone who was involved in producing it should be ashamed of themselves.’
    • ‘Fortunately for him, he will not be contemplating his sad and sordid crime from the inside of a prison cell.’
    • ‘Although outsiders view the pairing as sordid and unsavoury, the couple cling together, finding solace in this unlikely romance.’
    • ‘But you'll bristle at the wasted resources and moral compromises involved in the whole sordid mess.’
    • ‘But together they present a sordid picture of a man who used his status as a minor celebrity to seduce a bevy of women, often in unsavoury circumstances.’
    • ‘Yet their works continued to draw audiences; no matter how bizarre the plots, how filled with sordid family squabbles, the ghetto dwellers regarded them as a form of documentary.’
    • ‘The second half of the film becomes darker and more convoluted as Almodóvar attempts to emulate film noir conventions and the film degenerates into sordid melodrama.’
    • ‘What is being revealed in this sordid spectacle is the deep-going corruption of the traditional institutions of bourgeois rule in America.’
    • ‘Seen as sleazy and sordid, his early, no-budget films are in fact my favourite in his oeuvre.’
    • ‘After the fall of communism, part of the peace dividend that the free world enjoyed was the moral relief of being able to withdraw from such sordid partnerships.’
    • ‘But rather, you should introduce some fair and noble impression to replace it, and banish this base and sordid one.’
    • ‘Despite this sordid picture, the leadership of DC 37 voted last week against direct elections by the members of top union officers.’
    • ‘Bianchi is at his best when he delivers his seedy, sordid lyrics in a blank, innocent voice.’
    • ‘The bodybuilding lifestyle as portrayed by these publications is sordid and distasteful.’
    • ‘It is about the sordid deeds people's abject ambitions ultimately lead to.’
    • ‘The law must contemplate the full and often sordid scope of social reality.’
    • ‘Another motive, the sordid one, is the craving for gossip, particularly the naughty kind.’
    • ‘They say that every picture tells a story, and I'd say this picture tells a sordid one.’
    sleazy, seedy, seamy, unsavoury, shoddy, vile, foul, tawdry, louche, cheap, base, low, low-minded, debased, degenerate, corrupt, dishonest, dishonourable, disreputable, despicable, discreditable, contemptible, ignominious, ignoble, shameful, wretched, abhorrent, abominable, disgusting
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    1. 1.1Dirty or squalid.
      ‘the overcrowded housing conditions were sordid and degrading’
      • ‘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.’
      dirty, filthy, mucky, grimy, muddy, grubby, shabby, messy, soiled, stained, smeared, smeary, scummy, slimy, sticky, sooty, dusty, unclean, foul, squalid, flea-bitten, slummy
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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.