Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal.


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.
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.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.luridness - the journalistic use of subject matter that appeals to vulgar tastes; "the tabloids relied on sensationalism to maintain their circulation"
journalese - the style in which newspapers are written
2.luridness - unnatural lack of color in the skin (as from bruising or sickness or emotional distress)luridness - unnatural lack of color in the skin (as from bruising or sickness or emotional distress)
complexion, skin color, skin colour - the coloring of a person's face
3.luridness - the quality of being ghastly
frightfulness - the quality of being frightful
تَوَهُّج الألوان، فَظاعَه
színdús jelleg
e-î hræîilegt
dehşete düşürme


(of colour, sky, dress)Grellheit f; (of posters)schreiende Art
(of account)reißerische or sensationslüsterne Aufmachung; (of details)grausige Darstellung; the luridness of his languageseine reißerische Sprache; the luridness of this talediese blutrünstige or grausige Geschichte


(ˈluərid) adjective
1. (too) brightly coloured or vivid. a lurid dress/painting/sky.
2. unpleasantly shocking. the lurid details of his accident.
ˈluridly adverb
ˈluridness noun
References in classic literature ?
Imagination might have beheld a Last Day luridness in this red-coaled glow, which fell on his face and hand, and on hers, peering into the loose hair about her brow, and firing the delicate skin underneath.
The recent furore in India in the midst of state elections in Gujarat underlined the luridness of the anti-Pakistan sentiment that is being deliberately fanned by the Modi government.
For fans, the tidal wave of gossip--some accurate, much of it fake--has swelled exponentially; so has the anything-goes voyeuristic luridness of it all.
The reader of Mercy, however, may not be struck by the luridness of the incest it depicts.
While comedy doesn't predominate, a dark slapstick sometimes heightens the luridness of novellas as we find in the laconic novellas of Samuel Becket.
Apart from his luridness, Craig also sees virtue in Buchanan's "exciting" crudity, "abiding intelligence," sophisticated narrative structures, and experimental flair.
Or is the very luridness of such scenes in the plays and perhaps in the critical writing as well a sign of the role they play in the process by which texts seek to posit their own ground and thus secure their claims to reference?
These luminary antecedents are apt-in other ways--all are practitioners of artistic luridness and excess, lovers of spectacle; in that sense too, they were/are "populists.