Mrs. Grundy


Mrs. Grun·​dy -ˈgrən-dē How to pronounce Mrs. Grundy (audio)
: one marked by prudish conventionality in personal conduct

Did you know?

What would Mrs. Grundy say? Dame Ashfield, a character in Thomas Morton's 1798 play Speed the Plough, was continually asking that question and worrying about invoking the sneering condemnation of her prudish neighbor, Mrs. Grundy. Although Mrs. Grundy never actually appeared on stage during the play, her critical attitude exerted a significant influence on the actions of other characters, and ultimately on the English language. By 1813, English speakers had adopted her name as a byword for anyone with extremely rigid standards of propriety that he or she applied in judging the actions of others.

Examples of Mrs. Grundy in a Sentence

the librarian pointed out that many of the books that contain material that was once offensive to the Mrs. Grundys of the world are now revered as literary classics

Word History


from a character alluded to in Thomas Morton's Speed the Plough (1798)

First Known Use

1813, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Mrs. Grundy was in 1813


Dictionary Entries Near Mrs. Grundy

Cite this Entry

“Mrs. Grundy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

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