: a grave accent ` used to show that a vowel is pronounced with a fall of pitch (as in ancient Greek), that a vowel has a certain quality (such as è in French), that a final e is stressed and close and that a final o is stressed and low (as in Italian), that a syllable has a degree of stress between maximum and minimum (as in phonetic transcription), or that the e of the English ending -ed is to be pronounced (as in "this cursèd day")
serious implies a concern for what really matters.
a serious play about social injustice
grave implies both seriousness and dignity in expression or attitude.
read the proclamation in a grave voice
solemn suggests an impressive gravity utterly free from levity.
a sad and solemn occasion
sedate implies a composed and decorous seriousness.
remained sedate amid the commotion
staid suggests a settled, accustomed sedateness and prim self-restraint.
a quiet and staid community
sober stresses seriousness of purpose and absence of levity or frivolity.
a sober look at the state of our schools
earnest suggests sincerity or often zealousness of purpose.
an earnest reformer
Examples of grave in a Sentence
This violation of school rules is a grave matter.
His carelessness could have grave consequences.
They have placed themselves in grave danger.
I have grave doubts about this plan.
suffering from a grave illness
The judge issued his ruling with a grave expression.
The French word père is written with a grave accent over the first e. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Outside Khan Younis, workers dug a mass grave for 111 bodies that Israeli authorities handed over after troops took them from Shifa Hospital and other parts of northern Gaza.—Josef Federman, arkansasonline.com, 23 Nov. 2023 With assistance from attorney Ben Crump following NBC News' reporting, Wade was exhumed from the pauper's grave, marked only with a number, in November.—Jon Schuppe, NBC News, 23 Nov. 2023 Officials in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis transferred dozens of blue body bags from a truck into a shallow cemetery trench as a bulldozer stood ready to fill in one of the increasing number of mass graves.—Susannah George, Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2023 Or how, in the movie’s most visually and musically arresting sequence, to send the Russian and Austrian troops at Austerlitz to a bloody, watery grave.—Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2023 Her voice, excruciatingly beautiful, seems to be digging a grave.—Helen Shaw, The New Yorker, 21 Nov. 2023 Al-Shifa was forced to bury its dead in a mass grave inside the complex on Tuesday, with around 180 bodies buried there, El Mokhallalati said.—Yuliya Talmazan, NBC News, 14 Nov. 2023 There is hope for those of us who live (and sleep) in the real world: Getting less than 8 hours of shut-eye a night doesn’t mean you’re doomed to an early grave.—Alex Janin, WSJ, 9 Nov. 2023 Even after her husband died in an airstrike near his shop and was buried in a mass grave.—Hajar Harb, Washington Post, 9 Nov. 2023
The victim, Daniel Lamont Adams, was taken to a hospital in grave condition, officials said.—Dan Morse, Washington Post, 26 Nov. 2023 At the same time, that political license to take military action is being afforded to a leader for whom there can only be the gravest questions about competence, foresight and the basic morality of his government.—David Marchese David Marchese Photograph By Mamadi Doumbouya, New York Times, 22 Nov. 2023 The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous and grave than the threat from within.—Soo Rin Kim, ABC News, 13 Nov. 2023 Taking refuge in fiction, understanding it as more honest than reality—the novel presents this as a psychological coping strategy with grave personal and political consequences.—Jess Bergman, The New Yorker, 8 Nov. 2023 In it, a couple sit down for a grave conversation but are soon overwhelmed by a rising tide of chuckling faces.—Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 15 Nov. 2023 In recent days, Jewish and Muslim students have been forced to confront a more grave reality: the specter of violence.—Daniel Arkin, NBC News, 7 Nov. 2023 Iran has applauded the Hamas assault, which harnessed years of clandestine Iranian support with arms, cash, and weapons-building technology to inflict the gravest attack on the Jewish state since its founding in 1948.—Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, 3 Nov. 2023 During World War I, many of the grave artifacts that archaeologists had preserved were destroyed.—Julia Binswanger, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Oct. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'grave.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English, from Old English græf; akin to Old High German grab grave, Old English grafan to dig
Adjective and Noun (2)
Middle French, from Latin gravis heavy, grave — more at grieve
Adverb or adjective
Italian, literally, grave, from Latin gravis
Middle English, from Old English grafan; akin to Old High German graban to dig, Old Church Slavonic pogreti to bury
Middle English graven
First Known Use
before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1