Definition of squalid in US English:



  • 1(of a place) extremely dirty and unpleasant, especially as a result of poverty or neglect.

    ‘the squalid, overcrowded prison’
    • ‘The focus must remain on supporting the needs of women and children and the planned repatriation of millions of refugees still languishing in squalid camps.’
    • ‘They are quite often living in squalid and overcrowded accommodation.’
    • ‘His room was squalid and packed with dirty clothes.’
    • ‘As a lowly GP working in the squalid inner city you might think I would support bleeding the middle class for few extra quid to take the pressure off local hospitals.’
    • ‘Our urban areas are squalid and tawdry; what remains of our countryside is blighted by wind farms, phone masts and aircraft noise.’
    • ‘Unemployment in the squalid neighbourhoods where they live is double the national rate of 10 percent.’
    • ‘Of course, the poorest could not afford this new accommodation, and many urban authorities were sweeping away the squalid slums on grounds of public health and safety.’
    • ‘And the convention centre that became a squalid shelter in the chaotic days after the hurricane also reopened last week in an encouraging sign for the city's tourism industry.’
    • ‘This is the filthy, squalid bedroom where five children were left slowly starving to death by their parents, while they got drunk and watched television downstairs.’
    • ‘People in the mountains remain vulnerable with the winter closing in and there are also fears of disease spreading in squalid tent settlements that have sprouted in the towns.’
    • ‘Many of the city's residents who were able to leave the city are now concentrated in squalid refugee camps in surrounding regions.’
    • ‘Many live in squalid camps and eke out a living as day labourers.’
    • ‘There are far fewer of the dismal and squalid student properties than there used to be.’
    • ‘Many of these girls rent rooms in squalid slums around the city.’
    • ‘The stereotype of students happy to share squalid, dingy flats is a thing of the past.’
    • ‘He lives with five of his family in two tiny squalid rooms for which he pays 10,000 of the 15,000 dinars he earns a month.’
    • ‘The pig farm is a squalid 10-acre patch of mud and dilapidated buildings in the town of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia.’
    • ‘It was the abandoned children roaming the squalid streets that especially elicited her compassion.’
    • ‘For much of the 1990s, these 10,000-odd refugees lived in squalid conditions in Kenyan camps.’
    • ‘Some 1.2 million people have been displaced so far and are forced to live in squalid camps set up by the army to protect them from abductions.’
    dirty, filthy, grubby, grimy, mucky, slummy, slum-like, foul, vile, low, poor, sorry, wretched, dismal, dingy, miserable, mean, nasty, seedy, shabby, sordid, sleazy, insalubrious, slovenly, repulsive, disgusting
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    1. 1.1 Showing or involving a contemptible lack of moral standards.
      ‘a squalid attempt to save themselves from electoral embarrassment’
      • ‘Nobody comes well out of this squalid affair, but he emerges in a worse light than most.’
      • ‘Furthermore, a series of strategic gaffs have further badly damaged the already squalid reputation which the industry has earned for itself.’
      • ‘The history of trade negotiations is littered with hypocritical rhetoric and squalid deals.’
      • ‘His kindness and moral generosity I found uplifting in today's squalid world of denigration, spin and hypocrisy.’
      improper, sordid, unseemly, unsavoury, sleazy, seedy, seamy, shoddy, vile, foul, tawdry, louche, cheap, base, low, low-minded, nasty, debased, degenerate, depraved, corrupt, dishonest, dishonourable, disreputable, despicable, discreditable, disgraceful, contemptible, ignominious, ignoble, shameful, wretched, abhorrent, odious, abominable, disgusting
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Late 16th century: from Latin squalidus, from squalere ‘be rough or dirty’.