lu·rid (lo͝or’ĭd)
adj. 1) a) Characterized by vivid description or explicit details that are meant to provoke or shock: »

a lurid account of the crime.

b) Characterized by shocking or outrageous behavior: »

a friend with a lurid past.

2) a) Bright and intense in color; vivid: »

"the whole loud overbright town like the lurid midway of a carnival"

(Paul Theroux). b) Sallow or pallid: »

"She dropped back into the chair ... A lurid pallor stole over her face"

(Wilkie Collins).
[Latin lūridus, pale, from lūror, paleness.]
lu’rid·ly adv. lu’rid·ness n.
Word History: It may seem surprising that English lurid, which sometimes means "vivid," comes from Latin lūridus, "pale, sallow, sickly yellow," used to describe the color of things like skin or teeth. Latin lūridus could also describe horrifying or ghastly things like poisonous herbs or even death itself—things that make a person turn pale. In an account of the volcanic eruption that buried the city of Pompeii, the Roman writer Pliny the Younger used lūridus to describe the unsettling color of the sun shining through a cloud of ash. When lurid first appeared in English in the mid-1600s, it described things that are pale in a sickly or disturbing way. Lurid was also used of gray, overcast skies. In the 1700s, writers began to use lurid to describe the red glow of fire blazing dimly within smoke. In the 1800s, the word acquired an additional meaning, the one it most commonly has today when we reveal the lurid details of a horrifying or sensationalistic story.

Word Histories. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • luridness — noun The property of being lurid. The luridness of the authors descriptions turned off the critics …   Wiktionary

  • luridness — lurid ► ADJECTIVE 1) unpleasantly vivid in colour. 2) (of a description) shocking or sensational. DERIVATIVES luridly adverb luridness noun. ORIGIN originally in the sense «pale and dismal»: from Latin luridus, related to luror wan or yellow… …   English terms dictionary

  • luridness — noun see lurid …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • luridness — See luridly. * * * …   Universalium

  • luridness — n. ghastliness, dreadfulness; sensationalism; glaring brightness …   English contemporary dictionary

  • luridness — lu·rid·ness …   English syllables

  • luridness — noun 1. the journalistic use of subject matter that appeals to vulgar tastes the tabloids relied on sensationalism to maintain their circulation • Syn: ↑sensationalism • Derivationally related forms: ↑lurid, ↑sensationalistic (for: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • achromasia — noun unnatural lack of color in the skin (as from bruising or sickness or emotional distress) • Syn: ↑lividness, ↑lividity, ↑luridness, ↑paleness, ↑pallidness, ↑pallor, ↑wanness • Derivationally related …   Useful english dictionary

  • ghastliness — noun the quality of being ghastly • Syn: ↑grimness, ↑gruesomeness, ↑luridness • Derivationally related forms: ↑lurid (for: ↑luridness), ↑gruesome ( …   Useful english dictionary

  • grimness — noun 1. something hard to endure the asperity of northern winters • Syn: ↑asperity, ↑hardship, ↑rigor, ↑rigour, ↑severity, ↑severeness, ↑rigorousness, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

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