\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

b : mishap, misadventure

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

The government gets a lot of grief because the individual heading the government is very controversial. Eric Johnson, Recode, "It’s time for Facebook’s board to step up," 23 Nov. 2018 Later Saturday, about 50 members of the congregation were at the Squirrel Hill Jewish Community Center, where grief counseling was being offered. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Suspect in Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Faces 29 Federal Charges," 27 Oct. 2018 Instead, lawmakers in Washington provided money for community grief counseling and for schools to hire more cops. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "I went to a huge conference on school safety. No one wanted to talk about gun control.," 30 July 2018 More so than some other of the recent music deaths there was a sense that Linkin Park fans really wanted to connect and share their grief and mourning with the rest of the band. Gary Graff, Billboard, "Mike Shinoda Talks His 'Therapeutic' Solo Album & the Future of Linkin Park," 13 June 2018 More than a dozen people offered their prayers, condolences, and shared grief. Scott Berson, charlotteobserver, "Couple was driving home from a relative's funeral. They didn't make it.," 12 June 2018 Sachdev hopes to have 40 or 50 people attend the event who will share their grief and concerns over school shootings. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brookfield Central student to host an evening of solidarity to honor victims of gun-violence," 23 May 2018 There was no therapy, there was no grief counseling. Christina Dugan,, "Patricia Heaton's Catholicism Helped Her Cope with Her Mom’s Death: ‘We Will Be Together Again’," 17 May 2018 The Clarksville school district is offering grief counseling to students and staff members. Fox News, "Family of fatally shot teen urges more gun safety education," 14 May 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

8 Dec 2018

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

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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