\ 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 For many people in the depths of grief, that advice might feel incomprehensible, like no way forward at all. Rebecca J. Rosen, The Atlantic, 7 June 2021 Parker spoke of the approaching anniversary of her husband's death, a loss that initiated waves of grief that continue to buffet her family's Maple Grove home. Christopher Snowbeck, Star Tribune, 5 June 2021 There’s also mental fatigue or exhaustion that can be the result of grief, being in a stressful situation, or having to cope with a major stressor for a long time, like living through a global pandemic, Price says. Sarah Digiulio, Good Housekeeping, 5 June 2021 An outpouring of grief hit Twitter as news of Allen's death broke. Taylor Pettaway, San Antonio Express-News, 2 June 2021 The closures sent the film industry into mourning, with filmmakers including Rian Johnson, Edgar Wright, Barry Jenkins and Lulu Wang joining an outpouring of grief, especially over the historic Cinerama Dome on Sunset Boulevard. Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, 1 June 2021 His widow, Lindsay Myeni, a white American from Hawaii, cradled their 6-month-old daughter and kept watch over their 2-year-old son, while Mr. Myeni’s South African family held onto one another in grief. New York Times, 15 May 2021 Following strict social distancing rules during the pandemic, the queen set an example even in grief, sitting apart from family members who were arrayed around the church. Danica Kirka And Jill Lawless, Chron, 17 Apr. 2021 Following strict social distancing rules during the pandemic, the queen set an example even in grief, sitting apart from family members arrayed around the church. Time, 17 Apr. 2021

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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Learn More About grief

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

13 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Grief.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for grief



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

More from Merriam-Webster on grief

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grief

Nglish: Translation of grief for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grief for Arabic Speakers


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