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  1. morally ignoble or base; vile: sordid methods.
  2. meanly selfish, self-seeking, or mercenary.
  3. dirty or filthy.
  4. squalid; wretchedly poor and run-down: sordid housing.

Origin of sordid

1590–1600; < Latin sordidus, equivalent to sord(ēs) dirt + -idus -id4
Related formssor·did·ly, adverbsor·did·ness, nounun·sor·did, adjectiveun·sor·did·ly, adverbun·sor·did·ness, noun
Can be confusedsordid sorted

Synonyms for sordid

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1. degraded, depraved. See mean2. 2. avaricious, tight, close, stingy. 3. soiled, unclean, foul.

Antonyms for sordid Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of sordid

British Dictionary definitions for sordid


  1. dirty, foul, or squalid
  2. degraded; vile; basea sordid affair
  3. selfish and graspingsordid avarice
Derived Formssordidly, adverbsordidness, noun

Word Origin for sordid

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

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