\ 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web School administrators brought in a team of grief counselors to help students process the loss of their classmate. Lea Skene, Baltimore Sun, 17 May 2022 In October, several relatives of those whose faces appear on the Fleet Block participated in bimonthly meetings that included grief counseling, art healing sessions and talks about the future of the property. Blake Apgar, The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 May 2022 Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesA grief counselor comforts a congregant after a person opened fire during a church service Sunday at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, Calif. Corky Siemaszko, NBC News, 16 May 2022 The shooting, the latest act of violence in a country rocked by gun violence and a recent surge in hate crimes, has left Buffalo residents rattled and grief-stricken. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, 15 May 2022 Mourning a relationship looks different for everyone, but there is some common grief ground. Suzy Katz, SELF, 12 May 2022 With help from a crew of neighborhood old-timers and Mariana – Marty’s Nuyorican grief counselor – Ted orchestrates an intricate plan to provide the illusion of a Sox winning streak to keep Marty’s spirit up (and heart beating). Brent Lang, Variety, 11 May 2022 Adding the grief aspect of it just [means] more emotions. ... Christi Carrasstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2022 Sabrina Fletcher, a 39-year-old American bereavement doula living near Mexico City, became @thetfmrdoula on Instagram and other platforms after her experience with TFMR, offering virtual grief circles for women and families. Washington Post, 26 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Grief.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for grief


\ 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 also : a cause of such suffering

More from Merriam-Webster on grief

Nglish: Translation of grief for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grief for Arabic Speakers


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