\ 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

Monday's fascinating premiere episode picks up right where last year's finale left off, and shows McGill dealing with shock, denial, anger and grief in real time, along with his girlfriend Kim Wexler (the fabulous Rhea Seehorn). Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "Better Call Saul," 3 Aug. 2018 Without it, there is no other place to go after something awful has happened, except into a deeper, darker grief, into bitterness and pain and eventually vengeance. Tori Telfer, Longreads, "‘I Had Nothing To Do With It But Have Been Punished’: Issac Bailey On His Brother Moochie, the Murderer," 22 June 2018 Charlotte drove up to tell him, and Tyler burst into tears — first shock, then grief, then anger. Théoden Janes, charlotteobserver, "He lost his dad not once, but twice. How has this pitcher kept himself in the game?," 13 June 2018 Each individual grieves in their own unique way, including siblings. Hospice Cincinnati,, "When loss comes early: 15 tips for supporting a grieving child," 7 May 2018 The intervening years nearly crushed the family under the weight of grief, exhaustion and financial strife, but their story is one of resilience, love and compassion., "Cayla Wilson, pregnant woman struck by driver high on meth, has died," 13 Apr. 2018 Henderson, a leader of one of the nation’s foremost radical political organizing hubs, tells Teen Vogue that while the grief is real, the center’s 87-year history won’t be ended by a fire or a white-power symbol found in the parking lot. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "A Fire at the Highlander Center Won’t Stop this Legendary Civil Rights Movement Training Organization," 10 Apr. 2019 What remains, more than two weeks after the cyclone made landfall, is a sodden landscape of disconnectedness and grief. Cara Anna, The Seattle Times, "‘It’s not safe anywhere:’ Mozambique cyclone scattered lives," 30 Mar. 2019 People may say that time heals all wounds, but as Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop has covered previously, grief is a lot more complicated than that. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Gwyneth Paltrow's Wedding Venue Was a Touching Tribute to Her Late Father, Bruce," 18 Mar. 2019

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

Dictionary Entries near grief







grief stem

Statistics for grief

Last Updated

12 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for grief

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on grief

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grief

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grief

Spanish Central: Translation of grief

Nglish: Translation of grief for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grief for Arabic Speakers

Comments on grief

What made you want to look up grief? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that collects or salvages junk

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