V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. horrifyingly gruesome or savage; 2. shocking and sensational; 3. shining or glowing with an unnatural, usually red, brightness; 4. extremely pale

Synonyms: gruesome, horrifying, shocking, startling, gory, sensational, graphic, bright, fiery, intense, glowing, glaring, pale, pallid, sallow, ghastly, ashen

Antonyms: appealing, mild, quiet, controlled, healthy

Tips: Lurid comes from the Latin luridus, which means "yellow, sallow, or sickly." Its meaning of "shocking or horrifying" may have come from the idea that a person's extremely ashen or ghastly complexion shocked or horrified others. When something is horrifying, it also becomes sensational, thus, lurid also came to describe anything shockingly sensational. You may have heard someone say "lurid details." This refers to the sensationalized and graphic details, and usually the details are about sex or violence. Lurid can also refer to unnatural, usually red, brightness. Think of red being the color of blood, and thus, violence. To remember the contrasting definitions of "fiery red" and "ghastly pale," think of the lurid (glowing, red) blood draining from someone's face to make his or her complexion lurid (pale, ashen) because the person saw something lurid (shocking, gruesome).

Usage Examples:

I wasn't interested in hearing about all the lurid details of the celebrity murder. (gruesome, shocking, gory)

The victim's lurid complexion reflected the trauma he had been through. (pale, pallid, ashen)

The film has an "R" rating because of several lurid scenes. (graphic, shocking)

During last October's forest fires, the sun took on a lurid appearance as it shone through the smoke and ash in the air. (fiery, intense, glowing red)

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