If something is extremely dirty, filthy or just plain disgusting, it falls into the territory of the noun squalor. We’re not just talking about a messy room. We’re talking about a dungeon riddled with rats and roaches.

Squalor comes from the Latin squalere, which means “to be filthy.” This word often refers to living conditions as in, “after the disaster, the people were living in squalor.” This word can also describe a city or a building that is in general disrepair such as “ever since the budget cuts, the city has fallen into squalor.” If you know someone whose head is always in the gutter, you might say they suffer from a “squalor of the mind.”

Definitions of squalor

n sordid dirtiness

sordidness, squalidness
Type of:
dirtiness, uncleanness
the state of being unsanitary

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