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Borrowed from Latin lūridus (pale yellow, wan).



lurid (comparative more lurid, superlative most lurid)

  1. Shocking, horrifying.
    The accident was described with lurid detail.
  2. Melodramatic.
  3. Ghastly, pale, wan in appearance.
    • 1727, James Thomson, Britannia, 1850, James Nichols (editor and printer), The Poetical Works of James Thomson, page 151,
      Fierce o'er their beauty blazed the lurid flame;
    • 1855, Alfred Tennyson, Maud, [first published in Maud, and Other Poems], 1980 [Pearson Education], Bernard Richards (editor), English Verse 1830—1890, Republished 2014, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), page 167,
      Wrapped in drifts of lurid smoke / On the misty river tide.
    • 1913, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Gods of Mars, 2004, The Martian Tales Trilogy, Barnes & Noble, page 266,
      The great banths sniffed the unfamiliar odours, and then with a rush they broke past us with low growls, swarming across the gardens beneath the lurid light of the nearer moon.
  4. Being of a light yellow hue.
    Some paperback novels have lurid covers.
    The lurid lighting of the bar made for a very hazy atmosphere.
  5. (botany) Having a brown colour tinged with red, as of flame seen through smoke.
  6. (zoology) Having a colour tinged with purple, yellow, and grey.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for lurid in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)


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