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Sordid   /sˈɔrdəd/   Listen
Sordid

adjective
1.
Morally degraded.  Synonyms: seamy, seedy, sleazy, squalid.  "The seamy side of life" , "Sleazy characters hanging around casinos" , "Sleazy storefronts with...dirt on the walls" , "The sordid details of his orgies stank under his very nostrils" , "The squalid atmosphere of intrigue and betrayal"
2.
Unethical or dishonest.  Synonym: dirty.  "A sordid political campaign"
3.
Foul and run-down and repulsive.  Synonyms: flyblown, squalid.  "A squalid overcrowded apartment in the poorest part of town" , "Squalid living conditions" , "Sordid shantytowns"
4.
Meanly avaricious and mercenary.  "Sordid material interests"



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"Sordid" Quotes from Famous Books



... case of the kind,—or but a flying false anecdote? I would not be certain;—but at least, when Davidge died one evening, and Douglas was informed of the hour, he remarked, "I did not think he would have died before the half-price came in!" Sordid fellows are not safe from genius even in the grave. It spoils their sepulchral monuments,—as the old heralds tore the armorial blazonry ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. I, No. 1, Nov. 1857 • Various

... Mary-Clare went over in her thought the story of Philander Sniff and Peneluna. It was the romance and mystery of the sordid Point. ...
— At the Crossroads • Harriet T. Comstock

... frugal fare and greater privations than with us; and the domestic life of the Herschel family circle must needs have been of the most careful and penurious description. Still, Isaac Herschel dearly loved his art, and in it he found many amends and consolations for the sordid shifts and troubles of a straitened German household. All his spare time was given to music, and in his later days he was enabled to find sufficient pupils to eke out his little ...
— Biographies of Working Men • Grant Allen

... killed Arthur Wells, but in a struggle. In parts the story was sordid enough. She did not spare herself, or her motives. She had wanted luxury, and Arthur had not succeeded as he had promised. They were in debt, and living beyond their means. But even that, she hastened to add, would not have ...
— Sight Unseen • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... against good which watchful evil builds in human hearts—that innocent outburst of trust and grief had broken its way; and had purified for a while the fetid inner darkness with divine light. She had entered the room, with her own base interests to serve. In her small sordid way she, like her employer, was persecuted by debts—miserable debts to sellers of expensive washes, which might render her ugly complexion more passable in Ovid's eyes; to makers of costly gloves, which might show Ovid the shape of her hands, and hide their colour; to skilled workmen ...
— Heart and Science - A Story of the Present Time • Wilkie Collins

... before she had even spoken to Mr. or Mrs. Ulph. On the other inmates of the mansion her influence soon began to be felt; for almost unconsciously she exercised her rare and subtle power of introducing a finer element into the lives of those who were growing sordid and material. She had presented several families with a small house-plant, and suggested that they try to develop slips from others that she sedulously tended in her own window. In two or three instances ...
— Without a Home • E. P. Roe

... sermon, but I am afraid I did not adhere very strictly to the manuscript. I think I lost my head. I know I lost my temper. But the sermon was a nine days' wonder, and I have had to refuse a dozen subsequent offers to supply. It is all very sordid and sickening and theatrical. The good old Lowry tried to show me that it was my duty and for my good, but I have set my foot down not to supply again, and so ...
— The Uncalled - A Novel • Paul Laurence Dunbar

... was published poets had begun to keep an eye on the Bourse, and artists dabbled in finance. The new volume of song in the sordid age was a November primrose, and not unlike the flower of Spring. There was a singular freshness and hopefulness in the verse, a wonderful "certitude dans l'expression lyrique," as Sainte-Beuve said. The mastery of musical speech and of various forms of song was already to be recognised ...
— Essays in Little • Andrew Lang

... in the early morning at about six o'clock the fat Mlle. Goroshkin entered my room clad only in a nightgown. That was the only time I saw her pale and sordid, but she was just as uninteresting as ever. "Quick! Get up," she said, "they are searching. Brother has already left, and he said you must dress and get your documents and run out. Go to Tumen, I'll send your ...
— Rescuing the Czar - Two authentic Diaries arranged and translated • James P. Smythe

... though redeemed by scattered relics of a more picturesque past from the utter desolation of its neighbour the Commercial Road, is hardly a gay thoroughfare. Especially at its eastern end, where its sordid modernity seems to reflect the colourless lives of its inhabitants, does its grey and dreary length depress the spirits of the wayfarer. But the longest and dullest road can be made delightful by sprightly discourse seasoned with wit and wisdom, and so it was that, ...
— John Thorndyke's Cases • R. Austin Freeman

... speak so irreverently of such hidden things, rather to be adored than explicated; to dispute of them with such profane and heathenish niceties; to define them so arrogantly and pollute the majesty of divinity with such pithless and sordid terms and opinions. Meantime the others please, nay hug themselves in their happiness, and are so taken up with these pleasant trifles that they have not so much leisure as to cast the least eye on the Gospel or St. Paul's ...
— The Praise of Folly • Desiderius Erasmus

... upon the Characters of Johnson, it would be unjust to pass Abel Drugger without notice; This is a little, mean, sneaking, sordid Citizen, hearkening to a Couple of Sharpers, who promise to make him rich; they can scarcely prevail upon him to resign the least Tittle he possesses, though he is assur'd, it is in order to get more; and your Diversion ...
— An Essay towards Fixing the True Standards of Wit, Humour, Railery, Satire, and Ridicule (1744) • Corbyn Morris

... had it in my power to offer a sufficient sum to tempt the sordid and selfish being in whose possession Llangwillan now is," she was heard one day to exclaim, when she imagined herself alone, "that I might but restore it to Mr. Myrvin; that I might feel that good old man was passing his latter years in the spot and amongst all ...
— The Mother's Recompense, Volume I. - A Sequel to Home Influence in Two Volumes. • Grace Aguilar

... I was indebted to Mrs. Gaskell for nearly all the knowledge I then possessed of the Bronte story. But, in reply to my defence of Mrs. Gaskell, Miss Nussey entered into particulars. She explained to me that Mrs. Gaskell had mixed up the sordid and shameful story of Branwell Bronte with that of his sisters; and she protested against the way in which local traditions, that had nothing to do with the character of the gifted sisters, in whom there was not ...
— Memoirs of Sir Wemyss Reid 1842-1885 • Stuart J. Reid, ed.

... the heat, the journey on foot, the dust, added I know not what sordid quality to this dilapidated whole. His hair was closely cut, yet bristling, for it had begun to grow a little, and did not seem to have been ...
— Les Miserables - Complete in Five Volumes • Victor Hugo

... command; he, who won,—what you might win also at last,—the smile of princes, the trust of nobles, the shifting and sandy elevation which the best, the wisest, and greatest statesmen in this country, if unbacked by a sordid and caballing faction, can alone obtain;—he warns you from that hollow distinction,—from its wretched consummation. Oh, Godolphin!" she continued, subdued, and sinking from a high-wrought but momentary paroxysm, uncommon to her collected character, "Oh, ...
— Godolphin, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... whispered by his god that he may possess such land as he can circle in a day. Until that time he had been living on a fertile slope of sun and shadow, with fields ample for his needs. But when the whisper came, at a flash, he pelted off across the hills. He ran all morning, but as the day advanced his sordid ambition broadened and he turned his course into a wider and still wider circle. Here a pleasant valley tempted him and he bent his path to bring it inside his mark. Here a fruitful upland led him off. As the day wore ...
— There's Pippins And Cheese To Come • Charles S. Brooks

... other matters also a man of wisdom, popular in the provinces, and of a mild and courteous disposition. But at the same time, whenever he could find an opportunity, especially in any controversies or lawsuits (which is most shameful and wicked), he was greatly devoted to sordid gain. Not to mention many other instances, this was especially exemplified in the investigations which were made into the death of Theophilus, the governor of Syria, a man of consular rank, who gave information against the Caesar Gallus, and who was torn to pieces ...
— The Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus • Ammianus Marcellinus

... was weighed down by the problem of that helpless child in the old house. All through the night as he had battled for the life of his patient, he had thought of her, who must battle with the world. He could get her work, of course, but he shrank from the thought of her pale loveliness set to sordid uses. ...
— Glory of Youth • Temple Bailey

... knowed that no walls can ever be built high enough to separate the sordid, neglected, wretched lives of the poor and the luxurious, pleasure-filled lives of the rich. Between the ignorant criminal classes and the educated and innocent. You may make 'em strong as the Pyramaids and high as the tower of Babel, but the passions ...
— Around the World with Josiah Allen's Wife • Marietta Holley

... little of our sympathy, and at the same time keeping his virtuous personages so completely in the back ground, that we are scarcely at all acquainted with them when the work is brought to a conclusion. Marmion is not only a villain, but a mean and sordid villain; and represented as such, without any visible motive, and at the evident expense of characteristic truth and consistency. His elopement with Constance, and his subsequent desertion of her, are knightly vices enough, we suppose; but then he would surely have been more interesting ...
— Early Reviews of English Poets • John Louis Haney

... is one thing, of course, that might make all this sound vulgar and sordid." He considered her with his clear blue eyes. "Are you in love with anyone else?" ...
— The Long Trick • Lewis Anselm da Costa Ritchie

... to depart and clearing his bed of pine needles out of the way, I thought pityingly of his sordid little theft. Stealing because he was needy—a side of bacon and a length of cloth which he was trying to sell in the forest! Theft has indeed ceased to be a matter of great moment. This is because legal punishment for misdemeanors of all kinds has also ceased to be of ...
— Look Back on Happiness • Knut Hamsun

... till the grave was filled and the turf laid down, a trying quarter of an hour. Ah me! the thud of the spade on your mother's grave! None gave any sign of what he felt save Drumsheugh, whose sordid slough had slipped off from a tender heart, and Chalmers, who went behind a tombstone and sobbed aloud. Not even Posty asked the reason so much as by a look, and Drumtochty, as it passed, made as though it did not see. But I marked that the Dominie took ...
— Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush • Ian Maclaren

... resentful. As they passed out a voice recovered itself, and cried, "Hallelujah!" It was Laura's; and all the way to the club—Arnold was dining with him there—Lindsay listened to his friend's analysis of religious appeal to the emotions, but chiefly heard that clear music above a sordid din, "Hallelujah!" "Hallelujah!" ...
— The Path of a Star • Mrs. Everard Cotes (AKA Sara Jeannette Duncan)

... paper were emulous of obtaining no place in Parliament, but, what is far more desirable, a place in the affections of a lovely maid. They sought not for the suffrages of the unwashed, but for the smiles of a fair one,—they neither desired to be returned as the representative of so many sordid voters for the term of seven years (a term of transportation common alike to M.P.s and pickpockets), but for the more permanent honour of being elected as the partner of ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete • Various

... them in a place like that, isn't it? They ought to have a good house, with plenty of servants. It's bad enough for a civilised man to have to rough it, but I hate to see women living in a sordid way. Don't you think they could both play their part in a ...
— New Grub Street • George Gissing

... ugly and of me unworthy. So mighty is she that her proper doom Could come but by some elemental aid. Her splendid trouble asketh but the sea For sepulchre: her spirit limitless A multitudinous and roaring grave. Here's nothing sordid, nothing vulgar. I Consign her to the uproar whence she came. Be the crime vast enough it seems not crime. I, as befits me, call on great allies. I make a compact with the elements. And here my agents are the very winds, The waves my servants, and ...
— Nero • Stephen Phillips

... fact which each one stoutly denied with many weird and rather indelicate vows. I left them engaged in the pleasant game of recrimination, which had to do with stolen golf balls, the holding out of change and kindred sordid subjects. In my weakened condition this display of fraternal depravity so offended my instinctive sense of honor that I was forced to retire behind the protecting pages of a 1913 issue of "The Farmer's Wife Indispensable Companion," where I managed to ...
— Biltmore Oswald - The Diary of a Hapless Recruit • J. Thorne Smith, Jr.

... story about his offering to marry an Empress of the East while his first wife was still alive, not, it appears, from any ardent devotion to the lady—I do not believe he ever met her—but simply from the sordid motive of adding another empire to his business. However, I am no scandal-monger, and all the parties concerned have been dead ...
— From a Terrace in Prague • Lieut.-Col. B. Granville Baker

... the world for me might show Its sordid faith and selfish gloom, Yet 'mid life's wilderness to know For me that sweet flower shed its bloom, Was joy, was solace:—thou art gone— And hope forsook me, when the stone Sank darkly ...
— The Life of Mansie Wauch - Tailor in Dalkeith, written by himself • David Macbeth Moir

... intelligence, should the conjurer declare that the young man was sound when the doctor pronounced him diseased. But this was a piece of satisfaction he did not obtain from the misanthrope, who, in order to punish his sordid disposition, gave him to understand, that the physician had told him the truth, and nothing but the truth; and that the young gentleman was in a fair way of attaining a comfortable old age. "That is to say," cried the client, in ...
— The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, Volume I • Tobias Smollett

... them to the King who made him so? Did not the late King make my father an earl, and dismiss him with a pension of 4000 pounds a-year for his life? Could he or we not think these ample rewards? What rapacious sordid wretches must he and we have been, and be, could we entertain such an idea? As far have we all been from thinking him neglected by his country. Did not his country see and know these rewards? and could it think these rewards inadequate? Besides, Sir, great as I hold my father's services, ...
— Letters of Horace Walpole, V4 • Horace Walpole

... and saw him walking up the railroad tracks toward San Pasqual. She called after him. He turned, waved his hand and continued on—a great fat bow-legged commonplace figure of a man, mopping his high bald forehead—a plain, lowly citizen of uncertain morals; a sordid money-snatcher coming forth from his den of iniquity to masquerade for an hour as the Angel of Hope, and ...
— The Long Chance • Peter B. Kyne

... looked upon the graveyard, and the smoke, as it came warm out of Doctor Grimshawe's mouth, seemed already stale. But if the two children, or either of them, happened to be in the study,—if they ran to open the door at the knock, if they came scampering and peeped down over the banisters,—the sordid and rusty gloom was apt to vanish quite away. The sunbeam itself looked like a golden rule, that had been flung down long ago, and had lain there till it was dusty and tarnished. They were cheery little ...
— Doctor Grimshawe's Secret - A Romance • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... been reading the papers?" Miss Earle rallied him, with a coquettish smile. "But I don't suppose Boston bothers with such sordid things," she added, her thin-lipped mouth tightening. "Miss Pendleton was all cut up about it, because Mrs. Selim, or Juanita Leigh, as she was known on Broadway, had directed our Easter play the last two ...
— Murder at Bridge • Anne Austin

... of Holyrood There never squatted a more sordid brood Than that which now, across the clotted perch, Crookens the claw and screams for ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - April 1843 • Various

... alone To my God, bed, cradle, throne! Whilst thy glorious vileness I View with divine fancy's eye, Sordid filth seems all the cost, State, and ...
— In The Yule-Log Glow, Vol. IV (of IV) • Harrison S. Morris

... imply impassioned earnestness, with direct and tender appeal to personal considerations. Press and urge imply more determined or perhaps authoritative insistence. Solicit is a weak word denoting merely an attempt to secure one's consent or cooperation, sometimes by sordid or corrupt motives. ...
— English Synonyms and Antonyms - With Notes on the Correct Use of Prepositions • James Champlin Fernald

... her nobility? Was there no finer, more ethereal touch in Elizabeth Gunning's stolen marriage with her Duke than is recorded in Horace Walpole's malicious gossip? Could such beauty have been utterly sordid? What were the fears and hopes of the lovely Maria Walpole as, after long concealment of her marriage, she trembled on the steps of a throne? How did those about her judge of Fanny Burney in the ...
— The Ladies - A Shining Constellation of Wit and Beauty • E. Barrington

... year, its fame increases, till it looks back with contempt on the days when it was a mere upright waterproof. Local guide-books pander more and more slavishly to its pride; leader-writers in need of a pathetic metaphor are more and more frequently supplied by it. If there be any sordid question of clearing it away to make room for something else, the public ...
— Yet Again • Max Beerbohm

... night—there was something in his face, something in the way he held me—just as if I were his for the taking. It isn't the first time I've seen it, either. All the men I meet are beasts. That whole party was sordid and mean—old men drinking with girls and pawing them over. Mr. Merkle was the only nice one there." The mother was dismayed to feel her ...
— The Auction Block • Rex Beach

... Puddle," said I, to which the maid gave a smothered gasp, and—would you believe it, madam?—she crept out of the room on her hands and knees. The cook waited on us at breakfast, and I truly believe that the landlord and his wife breathed a sigh of relief when we left the Ship Inn, for their sordid souls had never heard of knighthood, but knew all ...
— Pomona's Travels - A Series of Letters to the Mistress of Rudder Grange from her Former - Handmaiden • Frank R. Stockton

... have for ten cents. Oh for the uncaptious appetite of these haphazard days! With some thirty-odd dollars standing between me and starvation, it was obvious I must become a hewer of wood and a drawer of water, and to this end I haunted the employment offices. They were bare, sordid rooms, crowded by men who chewed, swapped stories, yawned and studied the blackboards where the day's wants were set forth. Only driven to labour by dire necessity, their lives, I found, held three phases—looking ...
— The Trail of '98 - A Northland Romance • Robert W. Service

... streets alone at night she would probably be insulted, replied with ineffable security and simplicity, "Qui? moi!" One can imagine the merchant's daughter growing up to the possession of her great wealth, through the narrowing and hardening influences of sordid circumstances and habits of careful calculation and rigid economy, thrifty, prudent, just, and eminently conscientious; of Portia one can only think as of a creature born in the very lap of luxury and nursed in the midst of sunny magnificence, whose ...
— Records of a Girlhood • Frances Anne Kemble

... visitor to expect; so inevitably does an august inhabitant make his abode palatial to our imaginations, receiving his guests, indeed, in a castle in the air, until we unwisely insist on meeting him among the sordid lanes and alleys of lower earth. The portion of the edifice with which Shakspeare had anything to do is hardly large enough, in the basement, to contain the butcher's stall that one of his descendants kept, and that still remains ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 11, No. 63, January, 1863 - A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics • Various

... between passion and duty: their passion bade them follow a new lover: duty bade them stay with the old one, an old man who gave them money and was deceived by them. And in the end they plumped heroically for Duty. Christophe could not see how Duty differed from sordid interest: but the public was satisfied. The word Duty was enough for them: they did not insist on having the thing itself; they took the author's word ...
— Jean Christophe: In Paris - The Market-Place, Antoinette, The House • Romain Rolland

... of the Greek inhabitants of the island were centred in Hiero, son of Hierocles, who was about to besiege Messana (then held by the Carthaginians) and who had revived the courage of the Syracusans. To him Theocritus addressed this idyl, in which he complains of the sordid indifference of the rich, rehearses the merits of song, dilates on the true nature of wealth, and of the happy lift, and finally expresses his hope that Hiero will rid the isle of the foreign foe, and will restore ...
— Theocritus, Bion and Moschus rendered into English Prose • Andrew Lang

... 1738-1739; straitened there in various respects,—extremely ill off for fuel, among other things. Rugged practical Letters, shadowing out to us, unconsciously oftenest, and like a very mirror, the splendid and the sordid, the seamy side and the smooth, of Life at Cirey, in her experience of it. Published, fourscore years after, under the above title.] For the Ten Commandments are at a singular pass in cultivated France at this epoch. Such illicit-idyllic form of life has been the form of Voltaire's since 1733,"—for ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. X. (of XXI.) - Frederick The Great—At Reinsberg—1736-1740 • Thomas Carlyle

... secret of her own heart, that she would never, never become the hard-worked wife of a plodding farmer. Somewhere in the world—riding toward her on the steed of his passionate desire—was the fairy prince; her prince, coming to lift her out from the sordid commonplace of life in Brookville. Almost from the very first she had recognized Wesley Elliot as ...
— An Alabaster Box • Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and Florence Morse Kingsley

... glided out M Street. The little shops of Georgetown went sidelong by. The cab turned abruptly to the left and clattered across the old aqueduct bridge. On a broad reach of the Potomac the new-risen moon spread a vast sheet of tin-foil of a crinkled sheen. This was all that was beautiful about the sordid neighborhood, but it was very beautiful, and ...
— The Cup of Fury - A Novel of Cities and Shipyards • Rupert Hughes

... appreciation of the delicacy, and to David the partaking thereof was little short of ecstasy. He lingered longingly over the repast, and when the soup plate would admit of no more scraping he came back with a sigh to sordid cares. ...
— David Dunne - A Romance of the Middle West • Belle Kanaris Maniates

... In the later, and especially after their marriage, it had a way of coming up again to the exclusion, as it seemed to him, of almost everything else; in fact during the most dismal years, the three of the loss of their two children, the long stretch of sordid embarrassment ending in her death, he was afterward to think of her as having generally said it several times a day. He was then also to remember that his answer, before she had learnt to discount it, had been ...
— The Finer Grain • Henry James

... not having originated the new episcopates; but it should be remembered that he did his utmost to enforce the measure, which was "so holy a scheme that he would sacrifice for its success his fortune and his life." He refused the archbishopric of Mechlin, but his motives for so doing were entirely sordid. His revenues were for the moment diminished, while his personal distinction was not, in his opinion, increased by the promotion. He refused to accept it because "it was no addition to his dignity, as he ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... still stood upright, and he was the man whose obtrusive figure and sordid expression had so revolted me in the beginning. There was no color now in his flabby and heavily fallen cheeks. The eyes, in whose false sheen I had seen so much of evil, were glazed now, and his big and burly frame shook the ...
— The House in the Mist • Anna Katharine Green

... father, Sir James Stephen, was employed at the time to make careful inquiry, and that he and other eminent lawyers came to the conclusion that it was one long tissue of lies or hallucinations. The subject is sufficiently sordid, and indeed almost redundant in any biography of the Brontes; but it is of moment, because Charlotte Bronte and her sisters were so thoroughly persuaded that a woman was at the bottom of their brother's ruin; and this ...
— Charlotte Bronte and Her Circle • Clement K. Shorter

... assumption is unconcealed. It appears in the sordid disregard of all but personal interests, in the refusal to abate for the benefit of others one iota of selfish advantage, and in combinations to perpetuate such advantages through efforts to control legislation and improperly influence the ...
— A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents - Section 3 (of 3) of Volume 8: Grover Cleveland, First Term. • Grover Cleveland

... trying at first. The Montenegrin loves money—it is his curse, or rather the curse of every country on the brink of civilisation—but he also loves to play the gentleman, who hates sordid money transactions. He will often make you a present and afterwards send in ...
— The Land of the Black Mountain - The Adventures of Two Englishmen in Montenegro • Reginald Wyon

... something less than his usual good-humor. There was no friendliness in his eye as he looked at McHenry, whose empty glass remained empty until he himself refilled it. Bullet-headed, beady-eyed, a chunk of rank flesh shaped by a hundred sordid adventures, McHenry clutched at equality with these men, and it eluded him. Lying Bill, making no reply to his enthusiastic commendation, retired to his bunk with a paper-covered novel, and to cover the rebuff McHenry turned to talk of trade ...
— White Shadows in the South Seas • Frederick O'Brien

... because her feelings were sensitive as the quivering aspen, which trembles at the rustling of an insect's wing. Amongst her suitors there might have been some who were disinterested; but the meanness and sordid objects of many caused her to regard all with suspicion, and there was none among the number to whose voice her bosom responded as the needle turns to the magnet, and frequently from a cause as inexplicable. She had resolved that the man to whom she ...
— Wilson's Tales of the Borders and of Scotland, Vol. XXIII. • Various

... was in her worse moods, she had to curb the former as with an iron chain; while the latter were outraged continually by Lady Chillington's mean and miserly mode of life, and by a certain low and sordid tone of thought which at such times pervaded all she said and did. And yet, strange to say, she had rare fits of generosity and goodwill—times when her soul seemed to sit in sackcloth and ashes, as if in repentance ...
— The Argosy - Vol. 51, No. 5, May, 1891 • Various

... them as selfish and sordid if they had gone out on a commercial speculation? Why, then, if on a religious one? The merchant adventurer is often a noble type of man, and one to whom the world owes much, though his hands are not always clean, nor his eye single. The monk adventurer of the middle age is, perhaps, a ...
— The Roman and the Teuton - A Series of Lectures delivered before the University of Cambridge • Charles Kingsley

... give myself. Never in all my life do I seek to be served by any other man. You will be my lord and my servant, good will be to me whatsoever you will do to me, nor shall I ever be lady of the empire, if you be not lord of it. A poor, dark, and sordid place will be to me more splendid than all these halls, when you shall be together with me. If I have you and see you, I shall be lady of all the wealth in the world, and the whole world will be mine. And if the thing is done wisely, never will it be interpreted ...
— Cliges: A Romance • Chretien de Troyes

... consider how far historical events are modified and the world's destiny affected by the different material agencies which man at various epochs has had at his disposal. The human creature in his passions and ambitions, his sensual or sordid desires, his emotional and moral nature, undergoes less change than might be hoped from age to age. The tyrant; the patriot, the demagogue, the voluptuary, the peasant, the trader, the intriguing politician, the hair-splitting diplomatist, the self-sacrificing ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... people of any station or degree, how deep and true were his human sympathies, how quickly and keenly he could discriminate character, and how heartily he detested meanness and all unworthy acts and appliances to compass a selfish or sordid end. On these occasions, as may well be imagined, many curious incidents occurred. Lincoln was usually clad "in a black broadcloth suit, nothing in his dress betokening disregard of conventionality, save perhaps his neat cloth slippers, which were doubtless ...
— The Every-day Life of Abraham Lincoln • Francis Fisher Browne

... in the ostensibly "occult" or (as he was pleased to call them) "philosophic" studies and and stories that you get this atmosphere. It spreads practically everywhere—the very bankruptcies and the sordid details of town and country life are overshadowed and in a certain sense dis-realised by it. Indeed that verb which, like most new words, has been condemned by some precisians, but which was much wanted, applies to no prose writer ...
— A History of the French Novel, Vol. 2 - To the Close of the 19th Century • George Saintsbury

... him. Always the same pretty, childlike face, fraught with a half-frightened, half-wondering trouble; always the same slender, graceful figure, but always glimmering in diamonds and satin, or spiritual in lace and pearls, against his own rude and sordid surroundings; always silent with parted lips, until the night wind smote some chord of recollection, and then mingled a remembered voice with his own. For at those times he seemed to speak also, albeit with closed lips, and an utterance inaudible to ...
— The Three Partners • Bret Harte

... more the happiness of age than wealth of money or possession, I know of nothing more delightful than to help bring together distant and separated friends and complete that circuit of magnetic intercourse which, after all, above all sordid motives, above all selfish interests, above all things material, makes up ...
— Latin America and the United States - Addresses by Elihu Root • Elihu Root

... Parson, "if I wished to prove the value of Religion, would you think I served it much, if I took as my motto, 'Religion is power?' Would not that be a base and sordid view of its advantages? And would you not say he who regards religion as a power, intends to abuse it as ...
— The International Monthly, Volume 3, No. 2, May, 1851 • Various

... unsettled. Kittrell had been on the Telegraph a month, and his contract differed from that ordinarily made by the members of a newspaper staff in that he was paid by the year, though in monthly instalments. Kittrell knew that he had broken his contract on grounds which the sordid law would not see or recognize and the average court think absurd, and that the Telegraph might legally refuse to pay him at all. He hoped the Telegraph would do this! But it did not; on the contrary, he received the next day a check for his month's ...
— Americans All - Stories of American Life of To-Day • Various

... its owner, as if it had been bargained for and bought. Thinking, perhaps, that although she had assented with such perfect readiness to his request, her haughty face, bent over the drawing, or glancing at the distant objects represented in it, had been the face of a proud woman, engaged in a sordid and miserable transaction. Thinking, perhaps, of such things: but smiling certainly, and while he seemed to look about him freely, in enjoyment of the air and exercise, keeping always that sharp corner of his ...
— Dombey and Son • Charles Dickens

... retreating, Sordid hopes, and vain desires, Here our willing footsteps meeting, Every ...
— Hymns for Christian Devotion - Especially Adapted to the Universalist Denomination • J.G. Adams

... sight and smell of drugs, dressings, and disinfectants afflicted him with an agony of sensation. There was no escaping these things in the little flat, and he could not help associating his wife with them: it seemed as if a crowd of trivial and sordid images was blotting out the delicate moral impressions he had once had. Tyson was paying the penalty of having lived the life of the senses; his brain had become their servant, and he was horrified to find that he could not command its ...
— The Tysons - (Mr. and Mrs. Nevill Tyson) • May Sinclair

... to the lips, and made the eyebrows almost stern, 'Mr. Rogers will do the right thing always—when the right time comes. As a matter of fact'—here he reverted to the former train of thought —'both he and I are misfits in a practical, sordid age. We should have been ...
— A Prisoner in Fairyland • Algernon Blackwood

... sauntered into the room. A wonderfully well-preserved man was Sir Charles Darryll, with a boyish smile and an air of perennial youth unspotted by the world, a man who was totally unfitted to cope with the hard grip and sordid side of life. There were some who said that he was a grasping, greedy, selfish old rascal, who under the guise of youthful integrity concealed a nature that was ...
— The Slave of Silence • Fred M. White

... door opened into the court, and occasionally an old woman, or bustling, shabbily-dressed man would shuffle across the pavement; the faces at the windows seemed altogether sordid and every-day faces, so that I came to regard the quarters of the abbe, notwithstanding the quaint-fashioned windows and dim stairway, and suspicious quiet, a very matter of fact, and ...
— Graham's Magazine Vol XXXII. No. 3. March 1848 • Various

... of the finest gem stones present a very mean and sordid aspect before they have passed through the hands of the lapidary; one has only to compare the dull and unattractive appearance of a parcel of rough rubies, sapphires or rough diamonds with the finished jewels displayed ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 1082, September 26, 1896 • Various

... responsible for his action. At forty he became engaged to a widow in Richmond, who could offer him at least a home. Generous friends raised a fund to start him in life afresh; but a little later he was found unconscious amid sordid surroundings in Baltimore. He died there, in a hospital, before he was able to give any lucid account of his last wanderings. It was a pitiful end; but one who studies Poe at any part of his career has an impression of a perverse fate that dogs the man and that insists on an ending ...
— Outlines of English and American Literature • William J. Long

... our names were there—in order to avoid us. But you cannot avoid us. We do not mean that you shall avoid us. We will dog you now through life—not by lies or subterfuges, as you say, but openly and honestly. It is YOU who need to slink and cower, not we. The prosecutor need not descend to the sordid shifts of the criminal." ...
— Hilda Wade - A Woman With Tenacity Of Purpose • Grant Allen

... distinction, admits one of the most degrading of all influences to preside over its opinions. At no time should money be ever ranked as more than a means, and he who lives as if the acquisition of property were the sole end of his existence, betrays the dominion of the most sordid, base, and grovelling motive that life offers;" and ascribing it to the institutions, he says, "In one respect our institutions have disappointed us all: they have not wrought out for us that elevation of character ...
— Diary in America, Series Two • Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)

... not yet completely forsaken St. Saviour's for All Souls. She loved the grey old church in the market-place. Set in the midst of that sordid scene of chaffering and grime, St. Saviour's perpetuated for her the ancient beauty and the majesty of her faith. When she desired to forget herself, to sink humbly back into the ages, passive to a superb tradition, she went to St. Saviour's. When ...
— The Helpmate • May Sinclair

... to the sea, she had an intolerable load of regrets and hopes. On her lived timid truth and audacious lies; and, like the earth, she was unconscious, fair to see—and condemned by men to an ignoble fate. The august loneliness of her path lent dignity to the sordid inspiration of her pilgrimage. She drove foaming to the southward, as if guided by the courage of a high endeavour. The smiling greatness of the sea dwarfed the extent of time. The days raced after one another, brilliant and quick like the flashes of a lighthouse, ...
— The Nigger Of The "Narcissus" - A Tale Of The Forecastle • Joseph Conrad

... a man, who could not spell, and did not care to read—who had the habits and the cunning of a boor: whose aim in life was pettifogging: who never had a taste, or emotion, or enjoyment, but what was sordid and foul; and yet he had rank, and honours, and power, somehow: and was a dignitary of the land, and a pillar of the state. He was high sheriff, and rode in a golden coach. Great ministers and statesmen courted him; and in ...
— Vanity Fair • William Makepeace Thackeray

... and goodness and purity—the hatred of Horus for Seth. The Gods would punish me if I hated Paaker whose father was dear to me; but the spirits of darkness would possess the old heart in my breast if it were devoid of horror for the covetous and sordid devotee, who would fain buy earthly joys of the Gods with gifts of beasts and wine, as men exchange an ass for a robe, in whose soul seethe dark promptings. Paaker's gifts can no more be pleasing to the Celestials than a cask of attar of roses would please thee, haruspex, in ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... the rack with great care, among the elegant bags enveloped with gray cloth, beside which it looked conspicuously sordid. It was studded with yellow flowers on a ...
— Serge Panine • Georges Ohnet

... of the country—this even in case there were no wars or apprehension of wars. They supply an element needed in all society, to sustain in it the chivalric and heroic spirit, perpetually endangered by the mercantile and political spirit, which has in it always something low and sordid. ...
— The American Republic: Its Constitution, Tendencies, and Destiny • A. O. Brownson

... happened,—the business collapsed, and the brothers found a road out of their difficulties by way of the bankruptcy court. It was a great relief. "For upwards of two years," he wrote to Brevoort, "I have been bowed down in spirit, and harassed by the most sordid cares. As yet, I trust, my mind has not lost its elasticity, and I hope to recover some cheerful standing in the world. Indeed, I feel very little solicitude about my own prospects. I trust something will turn up to procure me subsistence, and am ...
— Washington Irving • Henry W. Boynton

... whose door, hanging by one hinge, a blackened track led across the dying grass to a door standing open outwards from the structural excrescence which must be kitchen or scullery: these made the sordid complement of the hypocrisy which exuded ...
— Ambrotox and Limping Dick • Oliver Fleming

... trials in which as a Judge I have presided was what was known as the Muswell Hill tragedy. It was a brutal, commonplace affair, and with its sordid details might make a respectable society novel. I should have liked Sherlock Holmes to have been in the case, because he would have saved me a great deal of sensational development, as well as ...
— The Reminiscences Of Sir Henry Hawkins (Baron Brampton) • Henry Hawkins Brampton

... by and left its furrows in their faces and its frosts upon their hair. To look upon this picture, and sail upon this sea, they had forsaken home and its idols and journeyed thousands and thousands of miles, in weariness and tribulation. What wonder that the sordid lights of work-day prudence should pale before the glory of a hope like theirs in the full splendor of its fruition? Let them squander millions! I said—who speaks of money ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... cried Master Silas, most contemptuously, "dost thou imagine that king calleth king, like thy chums, FILCHER and FIBBER, WHIRLIGIG and NINCOMPOOP? Instead of this low vulgarity and sordid idleness, ending in nothing, they throw at one another such fellows as thee by the thousand, and when they have cleared the land, render God thanks ...
— Citation and Examination of William Shakspeare • Walter Savage Landor

... purposes of wily craft the plan of rule our fathers established and bequeathed to us as an object of our love and veneration. It perverts the patriotic sentiments of our countrymen and tempts them to pitiful calculation of the sordid gain to be derived from their Government's maintenance. It undermines the self-reliance of our people and substitutes in its place dependence upon governmental favoritism. It stifles the spirit of true Americanism and stupefies every ennobling trait ...
— U.S. Presidential Inaugural Addresses • Various

... not in vain Kathryn's medical adviser and unwilling confidant, during the recent weeks of her approach to motherhood. He had learned to know the fineness of the man, the reverent housing he gave to his ideals, the care he lavished on their betterment; and just so surely he also knew the sordid selfishness of the woman, her lack of any ideals beyond the petty ones concerning food and raiment and mere personal advancement, her ruthless disregard of all that related to her husband's individual ...
— The Brentons • Anna Chapin Ray

... of law-and-orderliness than either had hoped. They seemed to have a pride that nothing that could hurt "the boss's" reputation as a landowner should be laid to their charge. If by chance there came into their midst any sordid being who could not see matters in that light the rest promptly taught him better, or else put ...
— Lo, Michael! • Grace Livingston Hill

... produces a strange and depressing effect. The undistinguished thousands of them make all the space seem black spotted with white. They are ugly; and the poverty of these bits of painted stick, incapable of resisting the effects of the weather, seems sordid in the extreme. In the graves of this part of the cemetery all are in truth equal. To the left of the vast cloister-surrounded square which has been mentioned the scene is a very different one. There, immediately behind the eastern end of the basilica, ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. 15, - No. 86, February, 1875 • Various

... man-servant, a groom, three horses, and a phaeton, and no one was more looked up to at Littlebath. Ladies smiled, young men listened, old gentlemen brought out their best wines, and all was delightful. All but this, that the "res angusta" did occasionally remind him that he was mortal. Oh, that sordid brother of his, who could have given him thousands on thousands without feeling the loss of them! We have been unable to see much of old Mr. Bertram in recapitulating the story of young Mr. Bertram's latter doings. But ...
— The Bertrams • Anthony Trollope

... domestic service of any kind. That no woman could develop or soar properly, and cook, scrub, sweep, dust, wash dishes, mend, or take care of babies at the same time—to defend this proposition they would cheerfully have gone to the stake. They were willing to concede all these sordid tasks as an honourable department of woman's work, but each wanted them to be ...
— Marm Lisa • Kate Douglas Wiggin

... this to some extent, he was unaccustomed to denial by others or by himself. She was alluringly beautiful, as she stood before him,—all the more valued because she valued herself so highly, all the more coveted because superior to the sordid motives upon which even he had counted as the chief allies in his suit. In the intense longing of a self-indulgent nature he broke out, seizing her hand as he spoke: "O Miss Marian, do not deny me. I know I could make you happy. I would give you everything. Your slightest wish should be law. I ...
— An Original Belle • E. P. Roe

... every detail of its appearance that dingy quarter of the town. The plaster was peeling from its walls, the window panes were broken, and in the upper storey and the roof there were yawning jagged holes where the Prussian shells had struck. In the dusk the building had a strangely mean and sordid look. It recalled to Faversham's mind the inns in the novels of the elder Dumas and acquired thus something of their sinister suggestions. In the eager and arduous search of the day he had forgotten these apprehensions to ...
— Ensign Knightley and Other Stories • A. E. W. Mason

... many manufacturers to place their establishments in the country, where they can control the mode of life of the employees and their families. Against the growth of the factory towns with their sordid conditions, we may with pleasure set these rural workshops where the capitalists are doing the best they can to better the mode of living of the people who are under their charge. In this good work it may well be possible to include a share of contact with the soil and with ...
— Domesticated Animals - Their Relation to Man and to his Advancement in Civilization • Nathaniel Southgate Shaler

... it succeeded in materializing and binding down to the earth the imagination of men, for which God has made another world (which certain statesmen take but too little into account)—that fair and beautiful world of heart, in which there CAN be nothing selfish or sordid, of which Dulness has forgotten the existence, and which Bigotry has endeavored ...
— The Paris Sketch Book Of Mr. M. A. Titmarsh • William Makepeace Thackeray

... for him—one human eye, secreted from the world and unobserved, peered into the lonely chamber, watching for the dissolution, impatient at delay, and greedy for the sight. I speak of an old, grey-headed man, a small, thin creature of skin and bone, sordid and avaricious in spirit—one who had never known Mildred, had not once spoken to or seen him, but who had heard of his possessions, of his funded gold, and whose grasping soul was sick to handle and secure them. Abraham Allcraft, hunks as he was, was reputed wealthy. For ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 54, No. 337, November, 1843 • Various

... artificial modes, with few outward influences to counteract upon their development; with very little, indeed, except the discipline and the affections of home to emancipate them from the tendencies to a trivial, artificial, and sordid life. They would gladly supply to them the healthful tone and vigor—the outer and inner bloom and freshness—which are the product of out-door life in the pure air of the country. But they are compelled by considerations of economy, to forego most ...
— Woodward's Country Homes • George E. Woodward

... them at free quarters, in idleness and luxury, exacting not only bread, meat, wine, and forage, but also sugar and coffee. Hence springs the reflection that the Greeks had cause to repent their early predilection for the klephts, who were almost all, beginning with Kolokotrones, infamous for the sordid perversity of their dispositions."[A] Gordon's disinterested and brave efforts to bring about a better state of things and to help on the cause of real patriotism in Greece were highly praiseworthy; but, as another historian has truly said, "he ...
— The Life of Thomas, Lord Cochrane, Tenth Earl of Dundonald, G.C.B., Admiral of the Red, Rear-Admiral of the Fleet, Etc., Etc. • Thomas Cochrane, Earl of Dundonald

... needed but a little money to redeem all. Amy had no extravagant aspirations; a home of simple refinement and freedom from anxiety would restore her to her nobler self. How could he find fault with her? She knew nothing of such sordid life as he had gone through, and to lack money for necessities seemed to her degrading beyond endurance. Why, even the ordinary artisan's wife does not suffer such privations as hers at the end of the past year. ...
— New Grub Street • George Gissing

... its resources continued to develop; its political constitution gained in power and consolidation. But there was a deficiency of disinterested principle. There was an open field for the operation of such sordid motives and debasing tactics as those ...
— The English Church in the Eighteenth Century • Charles J. Abbey and John H. Overton

... course, were penniless; one or two were priests, one a monk, six or seven in various military services, and the elder at home at Schloss Galgenstein breeding horses, hunting wild boars, swindling tenants, living in a great house with small means; obliged to be sordid at home all the year, to be splendid for a month at the capital, as is the way with many other noblemen. Our young count, Count Gustavus Adolphus Maximilian von Galgenstein, had been in the service of the French ...
— Catherine: A Story • William Makepeace Thackeray

... establish this Constitution ... to promote the general welfare." By what right do statesmen now venture to think that they can leave our national interests out of the account? Who and where is the sentimentalist who arraigns us for descending to too sordid a level when we recognize our interest to hold what the discharge of duty has placed in our hand? Since when has it been statesmanship to shut our eyes to the interests of our own country, and patriotism to consider ...
— Problems of Expansion - As Considered In Papers and Addresses • Whitelaw Reid

... curiously. 'What's the idea?' he said. 'I could have understood it if you had told me that you were going to New York for pleasure, instructing your man Willoughby to see that the trunks were jolly well packed and wiring to the skipper of your yacht to meet you at Liverpool. But you seem to have sordid motives. You talk about making money. What do you ...
— Uneasy Money • P.G. Wodehouse

... found, was not so infirm as he had thought, nor the Marchioness quite so full of fears. He must give it up, and take his pittance. But in doing so he continued to assure himself that he was greatly injured, and did not cease to accuse Lord Kingsbury of sordid parsimony in refusing to reward adequately one whose services to the family had been so faithful ...
— Marion Fay • Anthony Trollope

... cell of that sordid old building known as Le Bouffay lay a cocassier, an egg and poultry dealer, arrested some three years before upon a charge of having stolen a horse, and since forgotten. His own version was that a person ...
— The Historical Nights' Entertainment • Rafael Sabatini

... ordinary, the rooms small; but all—he did not take this into account—irreproachably clean. The walls were covered with pictures; some taken for unpaid debts, gifts from students since risen to fame or gone into the outer darkness,—to young artists' eyes, the sordid moneymaking world,—and had there been lost; from a great artist or two who remembered the days of his youth and the good host who had seen many little colonies ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... distress they were in, rush into the very same houses two or three times in one and the same day. Moreover, their hunger was so intolerable that it obliged them to chew everything, while they gathered such things as the most sordid animals would not touch, and endured to eat them; nor did they at length abstain from girdles and shoes; and the very leather which belonged to their shields they pulled off and gnawed; the very wisps of old hay became food to some; and some gathered up fibres and sold ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 03 • Various

... disgustedly. "This sordid, sodden passion of yours love! Love lives only where there is sympathy, and respect, and mutual understanding. Do you mean to tell me that you have any respect for this woman? You know well you haven't a bit more respect for her than she has for you, and that's none. ...
— A Fool There Was • Porter Emerson Browne

... heart of the busy world,—I quit your serene teachings for a restless and troubled future. Yes, Molly, smile if you will at my folly, but I go from the mountains with a deep heart-sorrow. I took kindly to this existence, which to you seems so sordid and mean. Here, at least, I have been contented. The "thistle-seed," as you call me, sent abroad its roots right lovingly into this barren soil, and gained an unwonted strength in what seemed to you such unfavorable ...
— The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-52 • Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe

... when it be known that it was part of a house standing in a grimy, if not exactly sordid, London thoroughfare, was exceptionally clean and well-cared-for. A casual stranger, more particularly one of a Superior class to their own, on suddenly opening the door of that sitting-room; would have thought ...
— The Lodger • Marie Belloc Lowndes

... a gentle little fellow that Durant could almost have forgiven him. He was so beautifully finished off. You could only say of him that he was fastidious, he had the prejudices of his class. He scorned to make conversation a sordid traffic in ideas. At any rate, Durant felt himself released from all obligation to contribute ...
— The Return of the Prodigal • May Sinclair

... way we live nor the work we do that matters," she said slowly, "but the ideal we put into it. Is there any work too sordid, too prosaic, to yield a return ...
— The Deliverance; A Romance of the Virginia Tobacco Fields • Ellen Glasgow

... some moods, far from sustaining and encouraging us, the thought of his equable, impassioned life may only fill us with unutterable envy. But still to have sat in his homely rooms, to have paced his little terraces, does bring a certain imagined peace into the mind, a noble shame for all that is sordid or mean, a hatred for the conventional aims, the ...
— The Thread of Gold • Arthur Christopher Benson

... and the red blood of a lawless manhood, too. They were not men of milk and water type, with little good and less bad. Neither their virtues nor their vices were lukewarm; but they did things, these men; added to the sum total of human effort, human knowledge, human progress. Sordid their motives may have been, sordid as the blacksmith's when he smashes his sledge on the anvil; but from the anvil of their hardships, from the clash of the {338} primordial warfare between the Spirit of the Elements and the Spirit of Man, struck out some sparks ...
— Vikings of the Pacific - The Adventures of the Explorers who Came from the West, Eastward • Agnes C. Laut

... month, the Vicarage was drawn back into its silence and its loneliness. It assumed, more and more, its aspect of half-sinister, half-sordid tragedy. The Vicar's calamity no longer sheltered him. It took its place in the order of ...
— The Three Sisters • May Sinclair

... "Immer-wieder-heirathenMotiv" (Always About to Marry Again Motive). Do you note a mysterious reflection of the first theme in it? Certainly; it would be evident even to a chattering opera-party of the highest social circles. But why is this, asks the sordid American business man, who goes to the music-drama absolutely unfitted in mind and body to solve its great psychological questions. Not because Wagner could not have evolved a dozen Leit-Motive for every ...
— Bluebeard • Kate Douglas Wiggin

... and become fountains of spiritual and moral power. Therefore our whole country may well rejoice with you, that you are auspiciously founding here a worthy seat of learning and piety. Here may young feet, shunning the sordid paths of low desire and worldly ambition, walk humbly in the steps of the illustrious dead—the poets, artists, philosophers and statesmen of the past; here may fresh minds explore new fields and increase the sum of knowledge; here from time to time may great men be trained ...
— The History Of University Education In Maryland • Bernard Christian Steiner

... don't lose money; or even if you succeed in coming out a little ahead. You must make it pay on a commercial basis, or else it's as worthless in the business world as so much moonshine. That is not sordid; it is simply common sense. We all agree that it would be better to cut our forests for the future; but can it be done under ...
— The Rules of the Game • Stewart Edward White

... a blanket from the bed, You lay upon your back, and waited; You dozed, and watched the night revealing The thousand sordid images Of which your soul was constituted; They flickered against the ceiling. And when all the world came back And the light crept up between the shutters, And you heard the sparrows in the gutters, You had such a vision of the ...
— Poems • T. S. [Thomas Stearns] Eliot

... escapade of Easter Eve, was visited with a sharp attack of inflammatory rheumatism, only just stopping short of rheumatic fever. Hannah got a doctor, and tended her sufficiently while the worst lasted, partly because she was, after all, no monster, but only a commonly sordid and hard-natured woman, and partly because for a day or two Louie's state set her pondering, perforce, what might be the effect on Mr. Gurney's remittances if the child incontinently died. This thought undoubtedly quickened whatever ...
— The History of David Grieve • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... had been raining. The big bluff of the Castle rock was streaked with rain, as it reared above the flat of the town. They crossed the wide, black space of the Midland Railway, and passed the cattle enclosure that stood out white. Then they ran down sordid Wilford Road. ...
— Sons and Lovers • David Herbert Lawrence

... my mean German clothes. Gallows' birds, sneak thieves, receivers, bullies, prostitutes and harpies of every description came together every evening in Herr Haase's beer-cellar. Many of the men wore the soiled and faded field-grey of the soldier back from the front, and in looking at their sordid, vulpine faces, inflamed with drink, I felt I could fathom the ...
— The Man with the Clubfoot • Valentine Williams

... few mean houses leaned apologetically, but on every side rose the ruins of a proud, dead past: a past beginning with the ruts of chariot-wheels graven on the rock-paved street. I thought, as I looked at the sordid little village of to-day, which had crawled into the very midst of the fortress, of some words I'd read last night: "a rat in the heart ...
— The Motor Maid • Alice Muriel Williamson and Charles Norris Williamson

... past hour came back to him, and he knew where he was. He cursed himself very bitterly, as he well might do, for a bungling idiot. The whole thing had been in his hands, he said, with perfect truth—Arthur Benham's whereabouts proved Stewart's responsibility or, at the very least, complicity and the sordid motive therefor. Remained—had Ste. Marie been a sane being instead of an impulsive fool—remained but to face Stewart down in the presence of witnesses, threaten him with exposure, and so, with perfect ease, bring back the lost boy in triumph to ...
— Jason • Justus Miles Forman

... husband, inasmuch as, beforehand, she ordered an old bed to be placed in Darnley's room, and the richer bed that previously stood in it to be removed. Nearly three hundred years after that dark and sordid insinuation was made, a roll of papers was casually found, during a search among some legal documents of the early part of the seventeenth century, and one of the leaves in that roll contained a contemporary and authenticated official return of ...
— Archaeological Essays, Vol. 1 • James Y. Simpson

... admired the physician's courage even while he abhorred his cowardice. And while the surgeon was busying himself to mend the victim for new tortures, Gabriel da Costa had a shuddering perception of the tragedy of Israel—sublime and sordid. ...
— Dreamers of the Ghetto • I. Zangwill

... Church, linked in sordid wedlock to governments and thrones, numbered among her servants a host of the worldly and the proud, whose service of God was but the service of themselves,—and many, too, who, in the sophistry of the human heart, thought themselves true soldiers ...
— The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century • Francis Parkman

... well-remembered facts! When I tread the old ground, I do not wonder that I seem to see and pity, going on before me, an innocent romantic boy, making his imaginative world out of such strange experiences and sordid things! ...
— David Copperfield • Charles Dickens

... sordid duty, He saw them with his heart, Priests of the Ultimate Beauty, Feeding ...
— The Little Book of Modern Verse • Jessie B. Rittenhouse

... consultation with the lawyer, and the immortal pair of letters to which this gives rise, complete the argument of the whole poem. But the story is as nothing; throughout we have little really kept before us but the sordid vices of the sectaries, their hypocrisy, their churlish ungraciousness, their greed of money and authority, their fast and loose morality, their inordinate pride. The extraordinary felicity of the means taken to place all these things in the most ridiculous light ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 4 - "Bulgaria" to "Calgary" • Various

... reached home he thought again of his sordid parting with Gertie in the Park—years ago, that afternoon. But the thought had to wait in the anteroom of his mind while he rejoiced over the fact that he was to see his new playmate ...
— The Trail of the Hawk - A Comedy of the Seriousness of Life • Sinclair Lewis

... pedigree. It is a national prerogative as unalienable as his pride and his poverty. My birth was neither distinguished nor sordid. According to the prejudices of my country, it was esteemed gentle, {p.003} as I was connected, though remotely, with ancient families both by my father's and mother's side. My father's grandfather was Walter Scott, well known ...
— Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Volume I (of 10) • John Gibson Lockhart

... nature of her work in the tenements. Of course I can and, what is more, I am chagrined to think she is toiling harder and enjoying herself less than I. Here I have a chance at great breaths of pure air, whereas in New York she is ever hurrying through sordid little East Side streets and breathing their emanations. I prefer the fish-houses, and if Miss Jelliffe were acquainted with some of those streets she would think as I do. The people I deal with here are grateful and happy to see me. Dora's mob is apt to suspect her motives, to distrust ...
— Sweetapple Cove • George van Schaick

... base, sordid creature, have derived so profound a law of human nature? how had she found the means to use this law to the profit or indulgence of her sanguinary instincts? This I could not comprehend; it ...
— Library of the World's Best Mystery and Detective Stories • Edited by Julian Hawthorne

... English Book yet written on those times,—which, by the accident of Pitt, are still memorable to us. But for Walpole,—burning like a small steady light there, shining faithfully, if stingily, on the evil and the good,—that sordid muddle of the Pelham Parliaments, which chanced to be the element of things now recognizable enough as great, would be forever unintelligible. He is unusually accurate, punctual, lucid; an irrefragable authority on English points. And if, in regard ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XVIII. (of XXI.) - Frederick The Great—Seven-Years War Rises to a Height.—1757-1759. • Thomas Carlyle

... without an instant of hesitation, he repaired. Where it would lead him, it is scarcely probable that he himself then foresaw. It was then identical with the Stars and Stripes of the American Union, floating to the breeze from the Hall of Independence, at Philadelphia. Nor sordid avarice, nor vulgar ambition, could point his footsteps to the pathway leading to that banner. To the love of ease or pleasure nothing could be more repulsive. Something may be allowed to the beatings ...
— The World's Best Orations, Vol. 1 (of 10) • Various

... observances, from motives of low gain and not as a Preparation for Emancipation. Thus even in the Kali age, Vedic rites are not absolutely unknown. The motive, however, from which these are undertaken is connected with some low or sordid gain. ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 - Books 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 • Unknown



Words linked to "Sordid" :   unclean, corrupt, disreputable, soiled, acquisitive



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