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90s Slang You Should Know


[sawr-did] /ˈsɔr dɪd/
morally ignoble or base; vile:
sordid methods.
meanly selfish, self-seeking, or mercenary.
dirty or filthy.
squalid; wretchedly poor and run-down:
sordid housing.
Origin of sordid
1590-1600; < Latin sordidus, equivalent to sord(ēs) dirt + -idus -id4
Related forms
sordidly, adverb
sordidness, noun
unsordid, adjective
unsordidly, adverb
unsordidness, noun
Can be confused
sordid, sorted.
1. degraded, depraved. See mean2 . 2. avaricious, tight, close, stingy. 3. soiled, unclean, foul.
1. honorable. 2. generous. 3. clean. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sordid
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • What does a poet want with a knowledge of the world, in the common, sordid sense?

    Big Game Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
  • The friendship whose motive is utility is the friendship of sordid souls.

    Practical Ethics William DeWitt Hyde
  • It is only in this degradation of sordid misery that he is shown to us in the Alchemist of Jonson.

    Amenities of Literature Isaac Disraeli
  • What cared he for the sordid affairs of the sublunary sphere?

    Samuel Brohl & Company Victor Cherbuliez
  • Even Tammany's thoughts began to lift above the sordid level of boodle.

    A Honeymoon in Space George Griffith
British Dictionary definitions for sordid


dirty, foul, or squalid
degraded; vile; base: a sordid affair
selfish and grasping: sordid avarice
Derived Forms
sordidly, adverb
sordidness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin sordidus, from sordēre to be dirty
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sordid

early 15c., "festering," from Latin sordidus "dirty, filthy, foul, vile, mean, base," from sordere "be dirty, be shabby," related to sordes "dirt, filth," from PIE *swrd-e-, from root *swordo- "black, dirty" (cf. Old English sweart "black"). Sense of "foul, low, mean" first recorded 1610s. Related: Sordidly; sordidness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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