\ ˈgrēf \

Definition of grief

1 obsolete : grievance sense 3
2a : 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
3a : an unfortunate outcome : disaster used chiefly in the phrase come to grief
c : trouble, annoyance enough grief for one day
d : annoying or playful criticism getting grief from his friends

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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

His 2009 film Antichrist starred Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a bereaved couple coping with their grief through, among other things, graphic genital mutilation. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Critics called Lars von Trier’s new movie “repulsive.” It’s being released twice.," 6 Dec. 2018 That means providing mental health support to process grief and recover from post-traumatic stress. Megan Feldman Bettencourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Forgiveness Has Been Weaponized Against Women," 25 Sep. 2018 So don't judge your grief, or try to rationalize your way around it. Andrea Park, Allure, "James Van Der Beek Opened Up About Wife Kimberly Brook's 3 Miscarriages In a Heartfelt Instagram Post," 10 Sep. 2018 In the days following his death, many of the families Yagoda cared for as a pediatrician at ProHealth Medical Group in Muskego, have expressed their grief but also to highlight the impact Yagoda had on their children's lives. Christopher Kuhagen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Following Brian Yagoda's death, his wife seeks funds to make roads safer for bicyclists. Here's how to help.," 21 June 2018 After his friend and bandmate Chester Bennington died of suicide almost a year ago, Linkin Park guitarist Mike Shinoda channeled his grief into art. Jeff Nelson,, "Mike Shinoda Mourns Chester Bennington on New Album: 'Music Just Started Pouring Out of Me'," 20 June 2018 During the sentencing hearing Friday, Rodman's wife, Ashley, talked about her last moments with her husband before the crash and of her struggle to raise her two children alone in the midst of her grief. Allison Ross, The Courier-Journal, "Man gets 35-year sentence in murder of LMPD officer Nick Rodman," 15 June 2018 Traveling with the Doctor is his way of dealing with the grief and trying to bond with his equally grieving step-grandson. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Doctor Who wraps a solid season with its first female Time Lord," 12 Dec. 2018 His death in 2013 at age 95 brought a global outpouring of grief and tributes. Christopher Torchia, Fox News, "Mandela: A life of soaring symbolism, now harnessed by UN," 24 Sep. 2018

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 1

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

17 Feb 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 \

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 \

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).


to express emotion in a dramatic way

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