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[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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sordidly
Historical Examples
  • The spirit of the place has not changed; it is as it was, splendidly and sordidly commercial.

    Literature and Life William Dean Howells
  • "Our peasants live too sordidly," observed a Frenchman to me a day or two later.

    East of Paris Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • sordidly mean, ostentatiously prodigal, filthily intemperate and affectedly refined.

    Masques & Phases Robert Ross
  • Nor by alternate shreds of light; sordidly shifting hands with shades and night.

  • Then the two candles guttered fitfully, sordidly, just as they had always done.

    The Missourian

    Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle
  • Pacifism, far from being branded as too idealistic and sentimental, is now scorned as "sordidly material."

    The Great Illusion Norman Angell
  • It is poorly, but not sordidly, furnished; and here and there are touches of taste, and some attempt at comfort.

    The Prude's Progress Jerome K. Jerome
  • They remorselessly pulled down, or patched meanly and sordidly, the old work.

    At Large Arthur Christopher Benson
  • The Alexandrians called him constantly Cybiosactes; a name which had been given to one of their kings who was sordidly avaricious.

  • Something ironically vulgar, sordidly tragic has seemed to creep into my relations with Judith.

    The Morals of Marcus Ordeyne William J. Locke
British Dictionary definitions for sordidly


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 sordidly



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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