noun \ ˈgrēf \
|Updated on: 21 Jul 2018

Definition of grief

1 obsolete : grievance 3
2 a : 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
3 a : 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

Examples of grief in a Sentence

  1. He has been unable to recover from his grief at his son's death.

  2. She was overcome with grief.

  3. the joys and griefs of our lives

  4. I've had enough grief for one day.

  5. Trying to fix the computer isn't worth the grief.

  6. He's taken a lot of grief from his friends.

  7. His friends have been giving him a lot of grief.

Recent Examples of grief from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

Synonym Discussion of 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

GRIEF Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of grief for English Language Learners

  • : deep sadness caused especially by someone's death

  • : a cause of deep sadness

  • : trouble or annoyance

GRIEF Defined for Kids


noun \ ˈgrēf \

Definition of grief for Students

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.

Medical Dictionary


noun \ 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 AlvaroThe Journal of Rehabilitation1 Oct. 2004
also : a cause of such suffering

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