Grand Guignol


Grand Gui·​gnol ˌgräⁿ-gēn-ˈyȯl How to pronounce Grand Guignol (audio)
: dramatic entertainment featuring the gruesome or horrible
Grand Guignol adjective

Examples of Grand Guignol in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Their performances in this gonzo sci-fi fest verge on camp, as does the movie's Grand Guignol sense of violence. Katie Rife,, 19 Oct. 2023 The truth gets revealed, and Roth’s Grand Guignol set-pieces work as allegories for today’s paranoid sense of a country founded by pilgrims that now either can’t — or won’t — save itself. Armond White, National Review, 29 Nov. 2023 There have been brief bursts of Grand Guignol in England and elsewhere through the years, but not too many in the U.S. — though this is not the first time the Yale Cabaret has ventured into the form. Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant, 18 Jan. 2023 The sheer irreverence of everything here, starting with a Grand Guignol shower of guts and ending on one hell of an existential question mark, is more than enough to cause serious giggling fits. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 1 Apr. 2023 What if laughing at a boy getting his ear ripped off is not merely Grand Guignol comedy, but also a realistic response to an extreme situation, by a person, incidentally, whose job probably invites him to see murder and mayhem as mundane. Jason Zinoman, New York Times, 20 Jan. 2023 Mainstream media ignore Antifa’s savagery, but Guadagnino’s Grand Guignol romance is intimate social observation. Armond White, National Review, 11 Jan. 2023 Lansbury reached back to nineteenth-century genres such as the British music hall and Grand Guignol and adapted them to Sondheim’s punishingly complex score, nailing every double entendre and triple-axel rhyme. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 12 Oct. 2022 For champions of progress, who often cite painless dentistry as the summum bonum, the surgery of the premodern period is nothing but a vile species of Grand Guignol. Will Self, Harper’s Magazine , 28 Sep. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Grand Guignol.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Le Grand Guignol, small theater in Montmartre, Paris, that specialized in such performances

First Known Use

1905, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Grand Guignol was in 1905

Dictionary Entries Near Grand Guignol

Cite this Entry

“Grand Guignol.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on Grand Guignol

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!