\ ˈgrēf How to pronounce grief (audio) \

Definition of grief

1a : deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement his grief over his son's death
b : a cause of such suffering life's joys and griefs
2a : trouble, annoyance enough grief for one day
b : annoying or playful criticism getting grief from his friends
c : an unfortunate outcome : disaster used chiefly in the phrase come to grief
3 obsolete : grievance sense 2

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Choose the Right Synonym for grief

sorrow, grief, anguish, woe, regret mean distress of mind. sorrow implies a sense of loss or a sense of guilt and remorse. a family united in sorrow upon the patriarch's death grief implies poignant sorrow for an immediate cause. the inexpressible grief of the bereaved parents anguish suggests torturing grief or dread. the anguish felt by the parents of the kidnapped child woe is deep or inconsolable grief or misery. cries of woe echoed throughout the bombed city regret implies pain caused by deep disappointment, fruitless longing, or unavailing remorse. nagging regret for missed opportunities

Examples of grief in a Sentence

He has been unable to recover from his grief at his son's death. She was overcome with grief. the joys and griefs of our lives I've had enough grief for one day. Trying to fix the computer isn't worth the grief. He's taken a lot of grief from his friends. His friends have been giving him a lot of grief.
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Recent Examples on the Web Over the course of the first season, Nicholas, his boyfriend Alex (Adam Faison), and his sisters Matilda (Kayla Cromer) and Genevieve (Maeve Press) navigate romantic hiccups, family dysfunction, and the lingering pain of grief. David Canfield,, "Josh Thomas on telling distinctive LGBTQ stories in Everything's Gonna Be Okay," 30 June 2020 But be prepared to guide them through some of the stages of grief as well. David G. Allan, CNN, "Homeschooling our kids about life," 26 June 2020 Unravel some of the complexities of grief for young children with this bestselling book. Dana Holmes, CNN Underscored, "30 gifts for someone dealing with grief," 25 June 2020 There's been a lot of anguish, a lot of grief about it. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "Jon Stewart talks 'Irresistible' political twists, explains that Steve Carell face lick," 24 June 2020 Ifill cited the outpouring of grief and anger following recent incidents of police brutality and violence as an example. Josiah Bates, Time, "Sherrilyn Ifill Says This Is the Time for 'Transformative' Change in America," 23 June 2020 The protests were part of a nationwide outpouring of grief and anger over the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 in Minneapolis as a white police officer knelt down on his neck. Helen Wieffering, azcentral, "No arrests made at Phoenix protests for second straight day," 3 June 2020 But despite the outpouring of grief and anger that have drawn thousands to the streets in protest, city officials sought to remind the public about the dangers posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dominic Fracassa,, "For 2nd night in a row, San Francisco goes under curfew Monday to prevent looting," 1 June 2020 Her words gave his family hope for what's next, and unexpected purpose during a time of great grief. Carol Motsinger,, "How Polly Campbell told the story of Cincinnati, one plate at a time," 19 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grief.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of grief

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for grief

Middle English gref, from Anglo-French gref, grief injustice, calamity, from gref, adjective heavy, grievous, from Vulgar Latin *grevis, alteration of Latin gravis — see grieve

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Time Traveler for grief

Time Traveler

The first known use of grief was in the 15th century

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Statistics for grief

Last Updated

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Grief.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for grief


How to pronounce grief (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of grief

: deep sadness caused especially by someone's death
: a cause of deep sadness
: trouble or annoyance


\ ˈgrēf How to pronounce grief (audio) \

Kids Definition of grief

1 : very deep sorrow
2 : a cause of sorrow The dog was nothing but grief to its owner.
3 : things that cause problems I've had enough grief for one day.
4 : an unfortunate happening The boat came to grief on the rocks.


\ ˈgrēf How to pronounce grief (audio) \

Medical Definition of grief

: deep and poignant emotional distress caused by or as if by bereavement Although, there is no consensus on the defining features that would distinguish normal and pathological grief, it is generally accepted that grief becomes pathological when the reactions are excessive, prolonged, or unresolved.— Jaye Wald and Rosemarie Alvaro, The Journal of Rehabilitation, 1 Oct. 2004 also : a cause of such suffering

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More from Merriam-Webster on grief

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grief

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grief

Spanish Central: Translation of grief

Nglish: Translation of grief for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grief for Arabic Speakers

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