• synonyms


  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.
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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


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


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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.

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for sordidly


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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper