Word Wednesday.

Lurid / Roué



1a: causing horror or revulsion: gruesome; b: melodramatic, sensational, also: shocking.

2a: wan and ghastly pale in appearance. b: of any of several light or medium grayish colours ranging in hue from yellow to orange.

3: shining with the red glow of fire seen through smoke or cloud.

-luridly, adverb.

-luridness, noun.

[Origin: Latin luridus pale yellow, sallow.]


Note: I have to say, this held surprises for me. I have never considered lurid to be light, let alone pale yellow! Lurid has always come across as very bold to me; daring and/or scandalous simply doesn’t scream pale or pastel to my mind. I never pictured it as a person being wan or ghastly pale, either. “His face was lurid.” Nope, that doesn’t sound right at all.

Are my expectations possibly getting a little lurid? she wondered. Not really. After all, there is someone out to get me.” – The Burning Page, Genevieve Cogman.



A man devoted to a life of sensual pleasure: Rake.

[Origin: French, literally, broken on the wheel, from Medieval Latin rotare, from Latin, to rotate; from the feeling that such a person deserves this punishment.]


Note: I found the origin of this fascinating.

“Don’t be,” Vale said, his tone as caustic as he could make it. “I hardly enjoy the experience. Your are one of the most notorious roués in London.” – The Burning Page, Genevieve Cogman.


  1. jazzlet says

    I too was surprised by the second definition, as far as colour goes the third definition is the nearest to the way I’ve seen the word used, though I didn’t know it was suposed to be seen through the smoke I envisaged lurid as like the fires of hell.

    Roue is a useful Scrabble word.

  2. says

    Yes, I envisaged the same kind of thing. I was surprised that luridus means pale yellow, and somehow people got all the rest out of that. Words are always interesting, especially when you think you know what it means and get a surprise.

  3. Ice Swimmer says

    It’s nice to learn new things. Roué is all new to me and I had no idea on the pale yellow meaning of lurid.

    Sort of tangential to this colour thing is this 12-minute video, colours in Old Norse. Some things stay the same, some change a lot. Black, brown, blue, red and white used to have a bit different scope of use and connotations.

  4. says

    Oh, how cool! Thank you for that, Ice Swimmer. Roué is one of those words you would hear in 1930/40s movies, and would run across in old books. As attitudes changed, it fell away, much like Rake to describe a hedonist playboy. And there was usually an air of romantic sympathy toward the roué, who could always be rescued by the love of a good woman, of course.

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