• synonyms


[skwol-id, skwaw-lid]
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  1. foul and repulsive, as from lack of care or cleanliness; neglected and filthy.
  2. wretched; miserable; degraded; sordid.
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Origin of squalid

1585–95; < Latin squālidus dirty, equivalent to squāl(ēre) to be dirty, encrusted + -idus -id4
Related formssqual·id·ly, adverbsqual·id·ness, squa·lid·i·ty [skwo-lid-i-tee] /skwɒˈlɪd ɪ ti/, noun


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1. unclean.

Synonym study

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

Examples from the Web for squalid

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • It was a squalid hovel, and reeked of the earth out of which it was dug.

    The Night Riders

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • Thus the use of commodity, regarded by itself, is mean and squalid.


    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • I couldn't afford to die like a rat in a squalid hole like that.

  • Most of it is turgid, lumpy, fuzzy in texture, squalid in intellect.


    Christopher Morley

  • Staying hidden in that squalid room had made him wretched and homesick.

British Dictionary definitions for squalid


  1. dirty and repulsive, esp as a result of neglect or poverty
  2. sordid
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Derived Formssqualidity (skwɒˈlɪdɪtɪ) or squalidness, nounsqualidly, adverb

Word Origin

C16: from Latin squālidus, from squālēre to be stiff with dirt
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 squalid


1590s, from Middle French squalide, from Latin squalidus "rough, coated with dirt, filthy," related to squales "filth," squalus "filthy," squalare "be covered with a rough, scaly layer, be coated with dirt, be filthy," of uncertain origin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper