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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



... and demanded why everything was suffered to go to ruin when Nettie was away. Mrs Fred, screaming and terrified, began to recriminate. The pallid figure of the child on the table gave a certain air of squalid tragedy to the scene, to the sordid miseries of which the night air, coming in with a rush, chilling the group in their indoor dresses, and flickering the flame of the candles, added one other point of dismal accumulation. The child had dropped from his swing on the door, and was stunned with the fall. Both father and mother thought ...
— The Doctor's Family • Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant

... licence of the Stewart blood carried the hapless northern prince into more dangerous adventures than the wild fun of Gadshill and Eastcheap. And Prince David's future had already been compromised by certain sordid treacheries about his marriage when he first appears in history, without the force of character which changed Prince Hal into a conquering leader and strong sovereign, but with all the chivalrous instincts of a young knight. He had been appointed at a very early age Lieutenant ...
— Royal Edinburgh - Her Saints, Kings, Prophets and Poets • Margaret Oliphant

... "intellectuals" seemed to bring a breeze from out of doors into the close, sordid, vitiated air of the Chamber. They stood for the thought of the world outside—the idea fatherless, unsponsored, the aspiration of the great masses—a breath of fresh air in the sick-room of a chronic invalid forever dying, ...
— The Torrent - Entre Naranjos • Vicente Blasco Ibanez

... Cavendish's sudden and reckless plunge into sodden, open dissipation, two years before, freshly called to Barclay's mind by Natalie's words, had pointed to almost any finale, however debased, however sordid. Barclay mentally invoked the face of his former friend, as he had seen it on the occasion of their last meeting, flushed, swollen-eyed, insolent, the fine patrician mouth hideously contorted and maundering ...
— The Lieutenant-Governor • Guy Wetmore Carryl

... destructive of true piety and religion, increased both in number and authority. The ascetics, monks and hermits augmented the strength of this barbarous faction, and not only the women, but also all who took solemn looks, sordid garments, and a love of solitude, for real piety, were vehemently prepossessed in their favor." In almost any history of England we will find it recorded that, even in the ninth century, King Alfred lamented that there was at that ...
— Astral Worship • J. H. Hill

... a nobleman without the means of sustaining nobility—a man of rank with no dignity—a superior without the shadow of pre-eminence; but for all the wealth of the kingdom, he would not have sullied the order to which he belonged, by what he conceived to be one act of meanness or sordid selfishness; as if there could be any thing foul or base in any act that seeks, by honourable industry, to repair the ...
— Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 365, March, 1846 • Various

... of a very commonplace, sordid little story which had taught the youth one of life's ...
— The Hawk of Egypt • Joan Conquest

... of these things a black shadow stalks over my heart. I hear a voice, "Fool, and do you still think that you are ever to escape from this? Do you not perceive that this sordid shame is your lot? Do you not perceive that you may writhe and twist, struggle and pant, toil and serve, till you foam at the lips? Who will heed you! Who will hear you! Who cares anything about you!—Who wants your Art! Who wants your work! Who ...
— The Journal of Arthur Stirling - "The Valley of the Shadow" • Upton Sinclair

... be brutal enough to cry "I spy" on their little secret? She understood now the abnormal restlessness that she had seen in others of her friends—the marriages with men beneath them in class who earned but half what they did; unwise flirtations, even the sordid things that occasionally creep into the horizon. And she blamed none of ...
— The Gorgeous Girl • Nalbro Bartley

... silence. What her visions and her voices were, who can say? The last historian of them is not a man credulous of good or moved towards the ideal; yet he is silent, except in a wondering impression of the sacred and the true, before the little Bearnaise in her sabots; and, notwithstanding the many sordid results that have followed and all that sad machinery of expected miracle through which even, repulsive as it must always be, a something breaks forth from time to time which no man can define and account for except ...
— Jeanne d'Arc - Her Life And Death • Mrs.(Margaret) Oliphant

... the reckless effort, the gambler's anxiety, the self-indulgence, the crude passions, with a far-off, vague idealism, the selfish outlook, and yet great breadth of feeling, with narrowness of individual purpose. The rough life, the sordid struggle, had left their mark, and this easy, coaxing, comfortable life of London had not covered it up—not yet. He still belonged ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... odious to any decent woman. Plutina's avaricious stipulation concerning money pleased him as a display of feminine shrewdness. He was in nowise offended. The women of his more intimate acquaintance did not scruple to bargain their charms. From such trollops, he gained his estimate of the sex. The sordid pretense by Plutina completed his delusion. The truckling of familiars had inflated conceit. He swelled visibly. The finest girl in the mountains was ready to drop into his arms! Passion ...
— Heart of the Blue Ridge • Waldron Baily

... barbarians, to your slavish distance! Fix to the earth your sordid looks; for he, Who stirs, dares more than madmen, fiends, or furies. Who dares to face me, by the Gods, as well May brave the majesty of thundering Jove. Did I for this relieve you, when besieged By this fierce prince, when cooped within your walls, ...
— The Works of John Dryden, Vol. 6 (of 18) - Limberham; Oedipus; Troilus and Cressida; The Spanish Friar • John Dryden

... transgression. Marshal Radetzky, however, acted a merciful part, and was wiser in so doing than if he had justifiably acted with greater severity. He and his imperial master showed that they were above all sordid, all selfish feeling. I only lament that the marshal stopped so short of that which he had a right to do. An acre of land I would not have taken to increase the dominions of one sovereign, or to diminish the territory of the other; but I would have shown the monarch of Sardinia, I would ...
— Selected Speeches on British Foreign Policy 1738-1914 • Edgar Jones

... they set poor Dreyfus free, the due amends to make, Regain the public confidence by owning their mistake, And cease for popularity by sordid means to bid? These are the things they might have done; but ...
— Lyra Frivola • A. D. Godley

... sincere and stalwart workers, it must be allowed that their power on their countrymen has been largely wielded for good. Particularly is this the case with Ruskin, whose influence has reached and ennobled many a life that, from pressure of sordid circumstances, was in great need of such help as his spirituality of tone, and deeply felt reverential belief in the Giver of all good and Maker ...
— Great Britain and Her Queen • Anne E. Keeling

... himself feeling, that, if he pushed the comparison farther, he would reach some such atrocity as that, if the white and shining flower produced in its season again the black bean from which it sprung, so the white and shining soul must once more clothe itself in the same sordid, unpurified body from which it first had sprung. He had a vague glimmer that perhaps his simile was too material, and that this very body was the clay in which the springing, germinating soul was planted to bloom out in heaven, but dared not pursue it unadvised, for fear of the quicksands into ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 16, No. 96, October 1865 • Various

... a rich miser lived in Padua, who was so mean and sordid that he would never give a cent to any person or object, and he was so afraid of the banks that he would not deposit with them, but would sit up nights with sword and pistol by him to guard his idol hoard. When his health gave way from anxiety and ...
— Architects of Fate - or, Steps to Success and Power • Orison Swett Marden

... frailty, so debased in hue, That he who dares peruse it needs but blush For his own nature. The poor shrivell'd wretch, For whose lean carcass yawns this hideous pit, Had naught that he desired in earth or heaven— No God, no Saviour, but that sordid pelf, O'er which he starved and gloated. I have seen him On the exchange, or in the market-place When money was in plenteous circulation, Gaze after it with such Satanic looks Of eagerness, that I have wonder'd ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, No. 494. • Various

... done everything for her. He had taken her from the sordid surroundings where she had passed all the days of her life. He had done his best to make a lady of her. He had trusted her, treated her as a friend. Was there any sacrifice too great to make ...
— The Beggar Man • Ruby Mildred Ayres

... of the people has been true to the cause of the people. That deep and generous thinker, who, more than any of her philosophical writers, represents the higher thought of England, John Stuart Mill, has spoken for us in tones to which none but her sordid hucksters and her selfish land-graspers can refuse to listen. Count Gasparin and Laboulaye have sent us back the echo from liberal France; France, the country of ideas, whose earlier inspirations embodied themselves for us in the person ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... of the valley, he will seek out the gaudy sunflower. If his spirit cannot rise to the plane of Shakespeare and Victor Hugo, he will roam into fields that are less fruitful. The spirit that is rightly attuned lifts him away from the sordid into the realms of the chaste and the glorified; away from the coarse and ugly into the realm of things that are fine and beautiful; and away from the things that are mean and petty into the zone of the big, the true, the noble, ...
— The Vitalized School • Francis B. Pearson

... attract Peter. In the first place it was low; its devotees were wholly lacking in the graces of life, in prestige, and that ease which comes with assurance of power. They were noisy in their fervors, and repelled Peter as much as the Holy Rollers. Also, they were always harping upon the sordid and painful facts of life; who but a pervert would listen to "sob stories," when he might have all the things that are glorious and shining and splendid ...
— 100%: The Story of a Patriot • Upton Sinclair

... martial poem were true, it was true in that great struggle. Not that cavalry had much to do with it, neither was there any pageantry or any of the panoply of war. It was all too grim, too ghastly, too sordid for that. And yet there was a pageantry of which Tennyson never dreamed. The boom of guns, the weird light of the star shells, the sulphurous atmosphere, the struggle of millions, formed a pageant so Homeric, and on such an awful scale, ...
— "The Pomp of Yesterday" • Joseph Hocking

... store, whose little front faced the edge of the quay and looked over the Seine, was a sordid back-shop: here the pallet of Mother Toulouche, a kitchen stove out of order, and the overflow of the goods which were crowded out of the store were jumbled up in ill-smelling disorder. This back-shop communicated ...
— Messengers of Evil - Being a Further Account of the Lures and Devices of Fantomas • Pierre Souvestre

... right for some, but I want a club-sandwich." She shuddered now at the memory of the girl's words, and shrank together on her bed. Was she another of that sort, abnormal, degenerate, whose life must find its level at last in the sordid riot of promiscuity, disguising itself as love? If Claire had never touched the bed-rock of self-abasement before, she was doing it ...
— Claire - The Blind Love of a Blind Hero, By a Blind Author • Leslie Burton Blades

... poet under their protection and avenged him. Was this a 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 from ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. I, No. 1, Nov. 1857 • Various

... are politicians in America who seek the votes of those disaffected, and approach treason in doing so. In all the history of sordid politics, there is nothing more nauseating than the effort of these cheap politicians thus ...
— Face to Face with Kaiserism • James W. Gerard

... and un-democratic manner, from the older inhabitants and "common" people, and to make a new settlement with a separate local government for those who formed a particular class living in luxury. Carleton, hostile to the sordid and unsocial spirit lurking in the bill, vigorously opposed the attempted mutilation of an old historic town, and the isolation of "Beverly Farms." He opposed it, because it would be a bad precedent, ...
— Charles Carleton Coffin - War Correspondent, Traveller, Author, and Statesman • William Elliot Griffis

... its 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 of these advantages, and allow their ...
— Woodward's Country Homes • George E. Woodward

... was left upon me, though I cannot say whether it was well or ill founded, as though there were a tacit understanding between the establishments at Oropa and Graglia that the one was to adapt itself to the poorer, and the other to the richer classes of society; and this not from any sordid motive, but from a recognition of the fact that any great amount of intermixture between the poor and the rich is not found satisfactory to either one or the other. Any wide difference in fortune does practically amount to a specific difference, which renders the ...
— Alps and Sanctuaries of Piedmont and the Canton Ticino • Samuel Butler

... business of my own, Sir Robert. Last night you generously lifted all sordid business cares from my mind, and now I am quite free to attend those ...
— A Daughter of Raasay - A Tale of the '45 • William MacLeod Raine

... From all removed, as heavenly creatures winged, Alit upon a hill-top near the sun, When all the world is reft of man and town By distance, and their hearts the silence fills— Not long: for unto them, as unto all, Down from love's height unto the world of men Occasion called with many a sordid voice. So forth they fared with sweetness in their hearts, That took the sense of sharpness from the thorn. Sweet is love's sun within the heavens alone, But not less sweet when tempered by a cloud Of daily duties! Love's elixir, drained From ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 8, No. 47, September, 1861 • Various

... long since forbidden me. 1 Pet. 4: 12; 1 John, 3: 13. Nay, verily, notwithstanding that, had the adversary but fastened the supposition of guilt upon me, my long trials might by this time have put it beyond dispute; for I have not hitherto been so sordid, as to stand to a doctrine right or wrong; much less, when so weighty an argument as above eleven years' imprisonment is continually dogging of me to weigh and pause and weigh again the grounds and foundation of those principles for which I thus have suffered. But having not only at my trial ...
— The Riches of Bunyan • Jeremiah Rev. Chaplin

... world a little justice too. It is far easier to know and honor a poet when his fame has taken shape in the spotlessness of marble than when the actual man comes staggering before you, besmeared with the sordid stains of his daily life. For my part, I chiefly wonder that his recognition dawned so brightly while he was still living. There must have been something very grand in his immediate presence, some strangely impressive characteristic in his natural ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. VI.,October, 1860.—No. XXXVI. - A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics • Various

... true to call, introduces Norine, his rightful owner, whose husband Justin is slowly dying. Towards the end of a hard life, faithful to their mountain ideal, they have not lost their dignity, though in a comparatively sordid medium: [132] ...
— Essays from 'The Guardian' • Walter Horatio Pater

... America is therefore not be resolved by computing the burden of a penny tax, or by exposing the sordid motives of British merchants and Boston smugglers, still less by coming "armed at all points with law cases and acts of Parliament, with the statute-book doubled down in dog's ears" to defend either the cause of liberty or authority. The issue, shot through and through, as ...
— Beginnings of the American People • Carl Lotus Becker

... such expressions as 'O law!' are out of order, especially when they're only so much bluff.... I must now approach a subject which may have sordid recollections for you, but in the interest of the law I am bound to allude to it. Were you whacked—ahem!—chastised a few days ago by ...
— Tell England - A Study in a Generation • Ernest Raymond

... the means to live; but when self-interested bodies start a rivalry in the name of their particular creeds, we know it ends in a squalid greed and fight for place, in a pursuit of luxury, the logical outcome of which must be to make the world ugly, sordid and brutal. It would be a mistake to overlook that high-minded men are allowing themselves to be committed by plausible reasons to this growing evil. It is misguided enthusiasm. There is a divine authority that warns us all: "Be zealous ...
— Principles of Freedom • Terence J. MacSwiney

... of the treasury, do we not owe 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? ...
— Letters of Horace Walpole, V4 • Horace Walpole

... solitary hours at the cottage on the upper road, he was wont to take his friend Leslie Wrandall into consideration. As a friend, was it not his duty to go to him with his sordid little tale? Was it right to let Wrandall go on with his wooing when there existed that which might make all the difference in the world to him? He invariably brought these deliberations to a close by relaxing into a grim smile of amusement, as much as to say: "Serve him right, anyway. Trust ...
— The Hollow of Her Hand • George Barr McCutcheon

... 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 of the youthful breast, which make ambition virtue, and something to the ...
— The World's Best Orations, Vol. 1 (of 10) • Various

... a diabolical affair, Jervis," Thorndyke said at length, in an ominously quiet and even gentle tone. "A sordid, callous, cold-blooded crime of a type that is to me utterly unforgivable and incapable of extenuation. Of course, it may have failed. Mr. Graves may even now be alive. I shall make it my very especial business to ascertain whether he is or ...
— The Mystery of 31 New Inn • R. Austin Freeman

... of a man who, in his youth, showed himself so capable of great undertakings; and, without the painful task of tracing his course farther, we may say the latter pursuits and habits of this unhappy prince are those painfully evincing a broken heart, which seeks refuge from its own thoughts in sordid enjoyments. ...
— Redgauntlet • Sir Walter Scott

... Emily. Her father was sordid, her mother weak; persons of great wealth and greater selfishness. She was the youngest by many years, and left alone in her father's house. Notwithstanding the want of intelligent sympathy while she was growing up, and the want of all intelligent culture, she was not an ...
— Woman in the Ninteenth Century - and Kindred Papers Relating to the Sphere, Condition - and Duties, of Woman. • Margaret Fuller Ossoli

... I hated during my lifetime have disappeared now—the crowding, the competition, the sordid self-interest, the bigotry, intolerance, prejudice. The anti-social aspects of society are gone. There is only the human race, living much closer to the concept of Utopia than I ever dreamed possible. You and the other survivors ...
— This Crowded Earth • Robert Bloch

... robbers, came and ranged themselves around him in a horseshoe, of which Gringoire, still roughly held by the body, formed the centre. It was a semicircle of rags, tatters, tinsel, pitchforks, axes, legs staggering with intoxication, huge, bare arms, faces sordid, dull, and stupid. In the midst of this Round Table of beggary, Clopin Trouillefou,—as the doge of this senate, as the king of this peerage, as the pope of this conclave,—dominated; first by virtue of the height of his hogshead, and next ...
— Notre-Dame de Paris - The Hunchback of Notre Dame • Victor Hugo

... them. The common topics are,—that it is desirable to increase the resources of the state, not to diminish them; and that he is a shameless man who is not content with gratitude in requital of his services, but who demands also solid rewards. But, on the other hand, it may be urged, that it is a sordid thing to argue about money, when the question is about showing gratitude to a benefactor; and that the claimant is not asking wages for a piece of work, but honour such as is due ...
— The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Volume 4 • Cicero

... picture by, say, Astorre Baglione. Perhaps I should be nearer the mark if I said it was a frozen epic. What I mean is, that in Italy it is still impossible to separate the soul and body of the soil, to say, as you may say in London or Paris,— here behind this sordid grey mask of warehouses and suburban villas lurks the soul that once was Shakespere or once was Villon. You will not say that of Florence; you will hardly say it (though the time is at hand) of Milan and Rome. Do the gondoliers still ...
— Earthwork Out Of Tuscany • Maurice Hewlett

... to discuss the affair as Natalie would want to discuss it. Not that he cared about Chris, but he had begun to feel a protective interest in Audrey Valentine, an interest that had in it a curious aversion to hearing her name in connection with Chris's sordid story. ...
— Dangerous Days • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... cathedral town held for him many painful, sordid memories. His first wife, the woman whose very existence he believed unknown to everyone who now knew him, with the exception of Blanche Farrow, had been a Chichester woman. It was there that they had lived in poverty ...
— From Out the Vasty Deep • Mrs. Belloc Lowndes

... wonderfully attached to his young secretary. She had exercised no arts; she had practised no wiles. She was a sincere, guileless, Christian girl. Shrewd enough she was, indeed, but utterly incapable of scheming for any manner of selfish or sordid end. With her divine endowment of good looks and her consecrated good nature, she could not fail to captivate; and there is small room for wonder that she had made large inroads upon "Cobbler" Horn's ...
— The Golden Shoemaker - or 'Cobbler' Horn • J. W. Keyworth

... bally pump of yours won't work again, or so the cook says. Jenkins, pass the word along for Smithson. He is the cook, and will tell you the whole sordid story." ...
— No Man's Land • H. C. McNeile

... life. Neither of them complained of their trials. They were not so much implacable as impracticable in their dealings with others in misfortune. To them, virtue, honor, loyalty, all human sentiments consisted solely in the payment of their bills. Irritable and irritating, without feelings, and sordid in their economy, the brother and sister bore a dreadful reputation among the other merchants of the rue Saint-Denis. Had it not been for their connection with Provins, where they went three or four times ...
— Pierrette • Honore de Balzac

... to amuse himself alone when his day's work is done. Mrs. Caudle's day's work never is done. She has the wearing charge of a large family, and the anxiety of making both ends meet on a paltry income, which entails much self denial and sordid parsimony, but is conscientiously done, if not cheerfully, nevertheless. It is Mr. Caudle, however, who grumbles, making no allowance for extra pressure of work on washing days, when she is too busy to hash the cold mutton. The rule of her life is ...
— The Heavenly Twins • Madame Sarah Grand

... gain by learned labour Any sordid quid pro quo: Not to rise above your neighbour (Comrades ne'er are treated so): Not to change your lowly station, Not for rank and not for pelf, Academic education Only, only ...
— The Casual Ward - academic and other oddments • A. D. Godley

... me, lady, I have learned in good time To save myself misery—you, sordid crime. I will garner the love that so lately was thine For one who can give me a love true as mine; But learn ere we part, Edith, peerless and fair, Uncle John has just died and has ...
— The Poetical Works of Mrs. Leprohon (Mrs. R.E. Mullins) • Rosanna Eleanor Leprohon

... "How sordid crime really is," he remarked as we walked on down the street. "Look at that place of Albano's. I defy even the police news reporter on the Star to find any glamour ...
— The Silent Bullet • Arthur B. Reeve

... thrown upon London streets, their vices and debauchery, by a sordid and rapacious mother. What the younger girl was then, the elder had been once; and what the elder then was, the younger must soon become. A melancholy prospect, but how surely to be realised; a tragic drama, but how often ...
— Sketches by Boz - illustrative of everyday life and every-day people • Charles Dickens

... I, you, none of us, go into things now for the sheer exuberance of our bodies and the sheer delight of playing a game. We must have some ulterior motive—usually a sordid one, getting money or downing the other fellow; and most of the time we have to drive our poor, old rackety bodies with a whip. About the time a man begins to vote, he begins to disintegrate. The rest of life is gradual running down, or breaking up. The Hindoos ...
— Penguin Persons & Peppermints • Walter Prichard Eaton

... street, this most magnificent of terraces, and the world has cause to bless that interdict of the Court of Session in 1774 which prevented the Gradgrinds of the day from erecting buildings along its south side,—a sordid scheme that would have been the very ...
— Penelope's Experiences in Scotland • Kate Douglas Wiggin

... the love of accumulation, the case would have been totally different. He might then have been justly despised, and characterized as being of the earth, earthy—incapable of high and generous sentiments and aspirations—sordid, grovelling, and utterly despicable. Sir William Follett had, during twenty years of intense and self-denying toil, succeeded in acquiring an ample fortune, which he disposed of, at his death, justly and generously; and how many hours of exhaustion, both of mind and body, must have been cheered, ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 363, January, 1846 • Various

... that Davie's licking would not be easily accomplished. In fact, Jennie habitually stood between Davie and his father and brothers. She had nursed him through a motherless babyhood, and had always sympathized in his eager efforts to rise above the sordid life that encompassed him. It was Jennie who had got him the grudging permission to go in the evening to the village schoolmaster for some book-learning. But peculiar circumstances had favored her in this matter, for neither the old man nor his sons could read or write, and they ...
— Scottish sketches • Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

... the first room, where a basket of eggs was deposited on the open hearth, near a heap of broken egg-shells and a bank of ashes. In strange keeping with that sordid litter, there was a low bedstead of carved ebony, covered carelessly with a piece of rich oriental carpet, that looked as if it had served to cover the steps to a Madonna's throne; and a carved cassone, or large chest, with painted devices on its sides and lid. There ...
— Romola • George Eliot

... anecdotes; the disgracer's of government, the vexers and afflicters of mankind, instead of being brought before an awful public tribunal, might have been honored with the highest distinctions and rewards their country has to bestow; and sordid bribery, base peculation, iron-handed extortion, fierce, unrelenting tyranny, might themselves have been invested with those sacred robes of justice before which this day they have ...
— The Works Of The Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. IX. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... Quixote looked at the sordid, angry pair before him. He felt like one in an evil dream, a dream that degraded him, and Milly's memory, ...
— The Purple Heights • Marie Conway Oemler

... a victim to the same inconstancy of mind which proved so fatal to Francis David, but sordid reasons and the love of gain without doubt influenced his conduct and produced his fickleness of faith. Antonio de Dominis, Archbishop of Spalatro, was a shining light of the Roman Church at the end of the sixteenth century. He was born in 1566, ...
— Books Fatal to Their Authors • P. H. Ditchfield

... people beginning life in the average city flat, at a rent of twenty to thirty dollars a month, with its shams, its makeshifts, its depressing, unsanitary, morally unsafe quarters for the maid, its friction with janitor and landlord—the whole sordid round necessitated by the mere manner of building, and by ...
— The Cost of Shelter • Ellen H. Richards

... target lie sordid with dust, The bloodless claymore is but redden'd with rust; On the hill or the glen if a gun should appear, It is only to war ...
— Waverley, Or 'Tis Sixty Years Hence, Complete • Sir Walter Scott

... sailor, disgusted with the sordid meanness of that impenitent thief, deserted from the schooner. The whole episode takes about three pages of his autobiography. Nothing to speak of; but as I looked them over, the curious confirmation of the few casual words heard in my early youth evoked the memories of that distant ...
— Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard • Joseph Conrad

... The image of the old woman washing that desecrated stair had struck my fancy; it seemed that all the water-supply of the city and all the soap in the State would scarce suffice to cleanse it, it had been so long a clearing-house of dingy secrets and a factory of sordid fraud. And now the corner was untenanted; some judge, like a careful housewife, had knocked down the web, and the bloated spider was scuttling elsewhere after new victims. I had of late (as I have said) insensibly taken sides with Carthew; now when his enemy was at his heels, my interest ...
— The Wrecker • Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne

... base are thy calculations, how sordid thy conclusions! The young, the fair, the helpless, the innocent may perish, it matters not. Loss of relatives, of children, of country, of character, all may be borne with complacency ...
— International Miscellany of Literature, Art and Science, Vol. 1, - No. 3, Oct. 1, 1850 • Various

... Now Sancho's sordid soul surrendered. His greed conquered fear, and he delved deep into a coffer, chattering the while with frenzy. And now when the thunder rolled, his ears heard it not. He drew forth his hands, and a glittering mass of wealth fell about ...
— The Pirate Woman • Aylward Edward Dingle

... The Mistress of that dateless exile gray Is named in surpliced Schools Tristitia. But, O, my Darling, look in thy heart and see How unto me, Secured of my prime care, thy happy state, In the most unclean cell Of sordid Hell, And worried by the most ingenious hate, It never could be anything but well, Nor from my soul, full of thy sanctity, Such pleasure die As the poor harlot's, in whose body stirs The innocent life that is and is not hers: Unless, alas, this fount of my relief By ...
— The Unknown Eros • Coventry Patmore

... barbaric magnificence of the East. It looks familiar to be in a city again, whose streets are thronged with people, and resound with the din and bustle of business. It reminds me of the never-ending crowds of London, or the life and tumult of our scarcely less active New York. Although the end may be sordid for which so many are laboring, yet the very sight of so much activity is gratifying. It is peculiarly so to an American. After residing in a foreign land for some time, the peculiarities of our nation are more easily noticed; I find in my countrymen abroad a vein ...
— Views a-foot • J. Bayard Taylor

... how comes it that you saw this sordid individual rather than another? You had hired a donkey from him, and you were no longer thinking of him. And yet he came. Say what you ...
— A Mummer's Tale • Anatole France

... with the Nominalists, the Realists had a good deal of reason. General ideas are essences. They are our gods: they round and ennoble the most practical and sordid way ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... cheap, the sordid old man asked me no troublesome questions. I knew enough of farm work to get along pretty well ...
— Bound to Rise • Horatio Alger

... kingdom would be theirs, He sternly warned them that they might find themselves altogether shut out while the publicans and harlots whom they despised were admitted. Through all His teaching Christ laid the emphasis on character. Pride, and love of power, and sordid ambitions, and all self-seeking—for these things, and for them that cherished these things, the kingdom had no place. "Blessed," Christ said, "are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." "Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter ...
— The Teaching of Jesus • George Jackson

... evenings. He went courting the daughter of an old sea-captain who was a churchwarden of his parish and lived in an old badly preserved Georgian house with a garden: one of these houses standing in a reduced bit of 'grounds' that you discover in a labyrinth of the most sordid streets, exactly alike and ...
— Chance - A Tale in Two Parts • Joseph Conrad

... at least—he had thoroughly demonstrated that the charm once exercised over his imagination by this beautiful woman had completely vanished. He saw her now as she was—heartless, selfish, using her spell of beauty for her own sordid ends. If there had been left a shred of romance in his memory of her, it was now completely shattered. Her coolness, her adroit changing of moods, convinced him she was playing a game. What game? Nothing in her words had ...
— Molly McDonald - A Tale of the Old Frontier • Randall Parrish

... burst forth in ungovernable passion. "This is the extent of your devotion, then! These your narrow calculations and sordid reckonings! You, the one soul in whom I trusted, the one friend I had in the world capable of appreciating me! Oh, shame on such ingratitude! Oh, miserable me, doomed ...
— Stories by American Authors, Volume 2 • Various

... day for births in Coal Creek, even for the birth of one of Uncle Charlie's inspirations. Snow lay piled along the sidewalks and in the gutters of Main Street—black snow, sordid with the gathered grime of human endeavour that went on day and night in the bowels of the hills. Through the soiled snow walked miners, stumbling along silently and with blackened faces. In their bare hands they carried ...
— Marching Men • Sherwood Anderson

... is a sordid tale? Mate, I know a certain spot in this Land of Blossoms, where only foreigners are laid to rest, which bears testimony to a hundred of its kind—strange and pitiful destinies begun with high and brilliant hopes in their native land; and when illusions have faded, the end has borne ...
— The Lady and Sada San - A Sequel to The Lady of the Decoration • Frances Little

... act and its environment—here he could fling himself into an obliterating Niagara, not of falling waters, but of falling men and women. Yes, it was a stage all prepared and set for the mean and sordid and ever recurring tragedy of which he was to be the puppet. For close about him seethed and boiled, as in no other place in the world, all the darker and more despicable passions of humanity. He ...
— Phantom Wires - A Novel • Arthur Stringer

... to your country, home, and friends, Die in a sordid strife — You can count your friends on your finger ends In the critical hours of life. Sacrifice all for the family's sake, Bow to their selfish rule! Slave till your big soft heart they break — The heart of the ...
— In the Days When the World Was Wide and Other Verses • Henry Lawson

... full of a genuine enthusiasm and love for his art, which placed him high above those sordid temptations which urge meaner natures to make time the measure of profit. He was born at Gyffn, near Conway, in North Wales—the son of a gardener. He early showed indications of his talent by the carvings in wood which he made by means of a common pocket knife; and his father, ...
— Self Help • Samuel Smiles

... necessary before socialism becomes possible. He must learn that socialism deals with what is, not with what ought to be; and that the material with which it deals is the "clay of the common road," the warm human, fallible and frail, sordid and petty, absurd and contradictory, even grotesque, and yet, withal, shot through with flashes and glimmerings of something finer and God-like, with here and there sweetnesses of service and unselfishness, desires for goodness, for renunciation and sacrifice, and with conscience, stern and awful, ...
— War of the Classes • Jack London

... love; such love as impels rather to suffering and to sacrifice than to enjoyment. Nor had she yet encountered the inevitable disappointments. Her eyes had not yet been opened to the seamy side of patriotism; to the sordid view of every great adventure that soon or late saddens the experienced and dispels the ...
— The Wild Geese • Stanley John Weyman

... much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; Little we see in Nature that is ours. We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! This sea, that bares her bosom to the moon, The winds that will be howling at all hours, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers— For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not. Great God! I'd rather be A pagan, suckled in a creed outworn, So might I, standing on ...
— Poems Every Child Should Know - The What-Every-Child-Should-Know-Library • Various

... a little hill, was Tom Brangwen's big, red-brick house. It looked from the front upon the edge of the place, a meaningless squalor of ash-pits and closets and irregular rows of the backs of houses, each with its small activity made sordid by barren cohesion with the rest of the small activities. Farther off was the great colliery that went night and day. And all around was the country, green with two winding streams, ragged with gorse, and heath, the darker woods in ...
— The Rainbow • D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence

... and a blush of embarrassment shone faintly on his sunburned cheeks, though to him it burned as hotly as when his cheeks had been exposed to the open furnace-door in the fire-room. Such sordid things as stabbing affrays were evidently not fit subjects for conversation with a lady. People in the books, in her walk of life, did not talk about such things—perhaps they did not know ...
— Martin Eden • Jack London

... influence upon the morals of all ranks of people, from the candidate to the lowest borough elector. The expedient of establishing funds of credit for raising supplies to defray the expenses of government, threw large premiums and sums of money into the hands of low sordid usurers, brokers, and jobbers, who distinguished themselves by the name of the monied interest. Intoxicated by this flow of wealth, they affected to rival the luxury and magnificence of their superiors; but being destitute of sentiment and taste to conduct ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.II. - From William and Mary to George II. • Tobias Smollett

... the coming of the vast herds and the problems they brought. It concerned the destinies of those who followed fast in the footsteps of the trailmakers and sought to establish a business where there was neither law nor precedent. Sordid days, these. The honest men were not yet organized; the dishonest and criminal were unrestrained by laws. Cattle and kine were taken furtively or openly to these very hills and vales where Jim Lough now lived in quietude and peace. Here they were held until ...
— David Lannarck, Midget - An Adventure Story • George S. Harney

... grows slowly, at the rate of two or three stores a year. But every Wiggins store is a center for economic and scientific distribution of pure food products. That's my job, and I find it neither petty nor sordid. I can even get a certain satisfaction and pride from it. Incidentally there is my five per cent. profit to be made, which makes the game fascinating. Retire? Not until I've found something better to do, and up to ...
— Torchy, Private Sec. • Sewell Ford

... his soul was Grecian to the core, and out of place and puzzled and very lonely in a sordid, bustling world; and he assured Patricia—she did not object if he called her Patricia?—that her own soul possessed all the beauty and purity and calm of an Aphrodite sculptured by Phidias. It was such a soul as Horace might have loved, as Theocritus might ...
— The Rivet in Grandfather's Neck - A Comedy of Limitations • James Branch Cabell

... to pass that the Lord Robert became the thing that he had most despised—a monk. And he found here that his courage, which he had thought the strongest thing he had, was yet hardly strong enough to bear the doing of mean and sordid tasks, such as a monk must often do; but it became to him a kind of fierce pleasure to trample on himself, and to do humbly and severely all menial things. He swept the church, he dug in the garden, he fetched and carried burdens, and spared himself ...
— Paul the Minstrel and Other Stories - Reprinted from The Hill of Trouble and The Isles of Sunset • Arthur Christopher Benson

... 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 ...
— Americans All - Stories of American Life of To-Day • Various

... feelings of hatred against the sordid avarice of the Jews was continually kept up by ballads which were sung, and legends which were related, in the public streets of the cities and in the cottages of the villages—ballads and legends in which usurers were depicted in hideous colours (Fig. 366). The most celebrated ...
— Manners, Custom and Dress During the Middle Ages and During the Renaissance Period • Paul Lacroix

... seat to the east the squat brick "jail-house" sat in the shadow of the larger building. There was a public square at the front where noble shade trees stood naked now, and the hitching racks were empty. Night was falling over the sordid place, and the mountains went abruptly up as though this village itself were walled into a prison shutting ...
— The Roof Tree • Charles Neville Buck

... examples which our world affords of a man who believed in virtue, in God, and a judgment to come, and who preferred the future and spiritual to the present and material—a fool in the eyes of the sordid and bad—a wise man according ...
— Ancient States and Empires • John Lord

... "of course," but while he went back to the buggy, his mind reviewed the sordid shelters he had found in just such solitudes, where a woman's housekeeping was the exception. Men in communities employed camp cooks, but most prospectors, ranchers, and cattlemen depended on themselves. ...
— The Rim of the Desert • Ada Woodruff Anderson

... and the directors of destiny. The circle in which, in boyhood, one may be compelled to move, may be esteemed low; the accidents all round him may be homely, the persons with whom he may be obliged to come in contact may be mean in apparel, and sordid in nature; but his mind, if it remain to him pure as he received it from his Maker, is an unsullied gem of inestimable price, too seldom found, and too little appreciated when found, among the great, or ...
— Rattlin the Reefer • Edward Howard

... is known, he had no serious defects or blemishes that would mar the beauty or disturb the harmonious grandeur of his character in its entirety. Had his heart been cold and selfish, or his thoughts defiled with the sordid cares of earth, he never could have sung so sweetly or soared so sublimely into those serene and heavenly regions whither his chaste fancy led him. He delighted to roam in those far-off regions beyond the skies, whose spheres are ruled and whose realms are governed by those mysterious laws which ...
— Poems: Patriotic, Religious, Miscellaneous • Abram J. Ryan, (Father Ryan)

... an ideal friendship and to have it fade from your grasp and flee as a shadow before it is touched with the sordid breath of selfishness, or sullied by misunderstandings, is the highest good. And the constant dwelling in sweet, sad recollection on the exalted virtues of the one that has gone, tends to crystallize these very virtues in the heart of him who meditates ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Volume 5 (of 14) • Elbert Hubbard

... was of the hardest. A pestilence had fallen upon Louisbourg, and turned the fortress into a hospital. "After we got into the town," says the sarcastic Dr. Douglas, whose pleasure it is to put everything in its worst light, "a sordid indolence or sloth, for want of discipline, induced putrid fevers and dysenteries, which at length in August became contagious, and the people died like rotten sheep." From fourteen to twenty-seven were buried every day in the cemetery behind the town, outside the Maurepas ...
— A Half-Century of Conflict, Volume II • Francis Parkman

... to be respectable I cannot tell; but they are obliged to be mean in their servility to her; and I am mean, too, in giving her my attention with the appearance of coinciding with her. Thus it is when rich people are sordid.' ...
— Memoir of Jane Austen • James Edward Austen-Leigh

... said, and in his voice was a quiver half-quizzical yet strangely charged with emotion, "did you ever seriously imagine that I should allow a sordid little detail like that to come between us? Surely Eustace knew ...
— Greatheart • Ethel M. Dell

... closely as he stepped into the witness-box. He was a well set-up, handsome man, noted in the town for his correct and fashionable attire, and he made a distinguished figure as the centre-point of these somewhat sordid surroundings. That he was indignant was very obvious; he answered the preliminary questions impatiently; there was impatience, too, in his manner as after taking the oath he turned to the Coroner; it seemed to Brent that Wellesley's notion was that the point-blank denial of a man of honour ...
— In the Mayor's Parlour • J. S. (Joseph Smith) Fletcher

... Marie Lowenstein, of 15, Gerald Street, Charing Cross Road, calling herself Princess Popoffski, had been brought up at the Bow Street Police Court for fraudulently professing to tell fortunes and produce materialised spirits at a seance in her flat. Sordid details followed: a detective who had been there seized an apparition by the throat, and turned on the electric light. It was the woman Popoffski's throat that he held, and her secretary, Hezekiah Schwarz, ...
— Queen Lucia • E. F. Benson

... the concierge's bureau, he was treated to many incidents, all alike. The Government took, but gave nothing. As well expect blood out of a stone. Instances were given, heartlessness piled on heartlessness, one sordid story on another. ...
— Long Live the King • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... the condition of her who is put to sale by her sordid parents, and her who is disposed of in the same manner by the magistrates, as a part of the state's property. Besides those we have already mentioned in this work, the Thracians put the fairest of their virgins up to public ...
— Sketches of the Fair Sex, in All Parts of the World • Anonymous

... however, were always satisfying, and even the sordid surroundings of the home were gilded by the warmth and glow of his imagination. Some day, somewhere he seemed to feel, there was a place for him to fill in the hearts of men. Vague stirrings told him of great future events which no one ...
— The Underworld - The Story of Robert Sinclair, Miner • James C. Welsh

... Roman jurisprudence, the ordinary promotion of lawyers was pregnant with mischief and disgrace. The noble art, which had once been preserved as the sacred inheritance of the patricians, was fallen into the hands of freedmen and plebeians, who, with cunning rather than with skill, exercised a sordid and pernicious trade. Some of them procured admittance into families for the purpose of fomenting differences, of encouraging suits, and of preparing a harvest of gain for themselves or their brethren. Others, recluse in their chambers, maintained the dignity ...
— The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Volume 2 • Edward Gibbon

... want. And looking ahead to the spires of a little village, nestling cloudy and blue on the plains, she vowed it was a golden city, and they leaned forward to catch the first sparkle of the diamond-studded streets. And when they reached the city itself, little, ugly, sordid,—a city of gold, perhaps, to those who had made a fortune there, but not by any means a golden city of dreams to the Arcady travelers,—Carol shook herself and said it was a mistake, she meant ...
— Sunny Slopes • Ethel Hueston

... which no official can exclude, is present every night, though sordid considerations force me to remain corporally in my attic. Transported by admiration, I even burst into frantic applause there. How perfect is the sympathy between ...
— A Chair on The Boulevard • Leonard Merrick

... pleasure, and with tastes which are expensive without being refined. The only cure would seem to be that men and women should be born different, with simple active generous natures; it is easy to say that! But the worst of the situation is that the sordid banality and ugly tragedy of their lot do not dawn on the people concerned. Greedy vanity in the more robust, lack of moral courage and firmness in the more sensitive, with a social organisation that aims at a surface dignity and a cheap showiness, are the ingredients of this devil's ...
— Where No Fear Was - A Book About Fear • Arthur Christopher Benson

... of which I speak, and possibly now? from the avenue ran two or three narrow lanes whose sordid aspect offered a strange contrast to the superb buildings near them. One of these lanes opened at the number 23, and announced on a gilded sign swinging in the passage, that the Moronval Academy was there situated. This sign, however, once passed, it seemed to you ...
— Jack - 1877 • Alphonse Daudet

... rolling-mills of knowledge. I should think it would be a terrible prospect to grow old with, just to sit and see them flocking across the country from your window, all these huge smoke-stacks of books in their weary, sordid cities; and the boys who might be great men, the small Lincolns with nations in their pockets, the little Bells with worlds in their ears, the Pinchots with their forests, the McAdoos and Roosevelts, the young Carnegies and ...
— Crowds - A Moving-Picture of Democracy • Gerald Stanley Lee

... actuated solely by those principles that are best calculated to further the philanthropic and enlightened ends which were contemplated by the legislature at the period of its foundation. The good of the many will not be sacrificed to the sordid views of the few, and no disqualifications will be permitted, but such as are confessedly necessary for the repression of vice, and the promotion ...
— Statistical, Historical and Political Description of the Colony of New South Wales and its Dependent Settlements in Van Diemen's Land • William Charles Wentworth

... the warriors are pleasantly tired, have put off the desire of meat and drink, and the fire roars and crackles in the hearth. When Ruskin deserted his clouds and peaks, his sunsets and sunrises, and devoured his soul over the brutalities and uglinesses and sordid inequalities of life, it was all put down to the obscure pressure of mental disease. Ophelia does not sob and struggle in the current, but floats dreamily to death in a bed ...
— The Altar Fire • Arthur Christopher Benson

... was a rich man, she would smile on his suit? Could he think that she would accept his attentions more gladly because of his newly acquired wealth? The idea made her furiously angry. If Farnsworth thought her that mercenary—if he deemed her so utterly sordid—well, her respect for him ...
— Patty Blossom • Carolyn Wells

... or vulgar buffoonery. Most of the leading characters are duplicated or triplicated. Miranda has a sister, Dorinda, who is repellently coquettish. This new creation finds a lover in another new character, a brainless youth, Hippolito, who has never before seen a woman. Caliban becomes the most sordid of clowns, and is allotted a sister, Milcha, who apes his coarse buffoonery. Ariel, too, is given a female associate, Sycorax, together with many attendants. The sailors are increased in number, and a phalanx of dancing ...
— Shakespeare and the Modern Stage - with Other Essays • Sir Sidney Lee

... teasings! A lover is not to be asked his whys! I ask you in return why you like the spire of a cathedral pointing up instead of down; or why the muses lift souls heavenward? Indeed, of all the fine arts granted the human race to lead men's thoughts above the sordid brutalities of living, methinks woman is the finest; for God's own hand fashioned her, and she was the last crowning piece of all His week's doings. The finest arts are the easiest spoiled, as you know very well; and if you demand how Mistress Hortense could ...
— Heralds of Empire - Being the Story of One Ramsay Stanhope, Lieutenant to Pierre Radisson in the Northern Fur Trade • Agnes C. Laut

... last, gaunt and haggard, with rough hair and blistered skin serving him as a mask, clad in coarse clothing, already worn and ragged, not at rest in the grave, as every one but herself believed him, but dragging out a miserable and sordid existence year by year, with no hopes for the future, and no happy memories of ...
— Cobwebs and Cables • Hesba Stretton

... Bunyan or his rival in lifelike portraiture, Defoe, could have drawn of vulgar English life in the latter part of the seventeenth century, in a commonplace country town such as Bedford. It is not at all a pleasant picture. The life described, when not gross, is sordid and foul, is mean and commonplace. But as a description of English middle-class life at the epoch of the Restoration and Revolution, it is invaluable for those who wish to put themselves in touch with that ...
— The Life of John Bunyan • Edmund Venables

... occasion, but he is a thorough-going empiricist, and he knows, sooner or later, if not gobbled up by the guny, that the flying-fish must return to the water. And then— breakfast. We used to pity the poor winged fish. It was sad to see such sordid and bloody slaughter. And then, in the night watches, when a forlorn little flying-fish struck the mainsail and fell gasping and splattering on the deck, we would rush for it just as eagerly, just as greedily, just as voraciously, ...
— The Cruise of the Snark • Jack London

... solicitudes, would have had a sorry key-keeper in me. Were I mistress of a family, I would not either take to myself, or give to servants, the pain of keeping those I had reason to suspect. People low in station have often minds not sordid. Nay, I have sometimes thought, that (even take number for number) there are more honest low people, than honest high. In the one, honest is their chief pride. In the other, the love of power, of grandeur, of pleasure, ...
— Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9) • Samuel Richardson

... people, the more it felt the need of taking refuge in its past. The Scripture, or, to use the Jewish term, the Torah, was the only remnant of its former national independence, and the Torah was the magic means of making a sordid actuality recede before a glorious memory. To the Scripture was assigned the task of supplying nourishment to the mind as well as the soul, to the intellect as well as the imagination, and the result is the Halakah ...
— The Legends of the Jews Volume 1 • Louis Ginzberg

... the people of England think of an opulent English Nobleman who should try to squeeze a few pence from the poor by dividing the street front of his palace into little pigeon-sheds of petty shops for the retail of petty wares? Oh! Princes of India "reform this altogether." This sordid saving, this widely published parsimony, is not only not princely, it is not only not decorous, it is positively disgusting to every passer-by who himself possesses any right thought ...
— Flowers and Flower-Gardens • David Lester Richardson

... and never suspects. If I had shown him a whole bush he would have thought it was the same. Well, it is a good night's work: the committee is safe. But this is a desperate game I am playing in these days —a wearing, sordid, heartless game. If I lose, I lose everything—even myself. And if I win the game, will it be worth its cost after all? I do not know. Sometimes I doubt. Sometimes I half wish I had not begun. But no matter; I have begun, and I will never turn ...
— The Gilded Age, Part 5. • Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) and Charles Dudley Warner

... walked together eastward. I think the man would have been glad to get rid of me, but I didn't intend to let him go, and he stopped at last in front of a miserable house in a miserable street. It was, I verily believe, one of the most wretched quarters I have ever seen,—houses that must have been sordid and hideous enough when new, that had gathered foulness with every year, and now seemed to lean and totter to their fall. 'I live up there,' said Black, pointing to the tiles, 'not in the front,—in the back. I am very quiet there. ...
— Masterpieces of Mystery In Four Volumes - Mystic-Humorous Stories • Various



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



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