griev·​ance | \ ˈgrē-vən(t)s How to pronounce grievance (audio) \

Definition of grievance

1 : a cause of distress (such as an unsatisfactory working condition) felt to afford reason for complaint or resistance Her chief grievance was the sexual harassment by her boss.
2 : the formal expression of a grievance : complaint filed a grievance against her employer
3 obsolete : suffering, distress

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Synonyms for grievance


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injustice, injury, wrong, grievance mean an act that inflicts undeserved hurt. injustice applies to any act that involves unfairness to another or violation of one's rights. the injustices suffered by the lower classes injury applies in law specifically to an injustice for which one may sue to recover compensation. libel constitutes a legal injury wrong applies also in law to any act punishable according to the criminal code; it may apply more generally to any flagrant injustice. determined to right society's wrongs grievance applies to a circumstance or condition that constitutes an injustice to the sufferer and gives just ground for complaint. a list of employee grievances

Examples of grievance in a Sentence

He has a deep sense of grievance against his former employer. She has been nursing a grievance all week. In the petition, the students listed their many grievances against the university administration. Several customers came to the front desk to air their grievances.
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Recent Examples on the Web The regulatory agency initially dismissed the grievance but was ordered by an appeals board last month to look into the accusations, records show. Washington Post, 10 June 2021 The grievance that Wolfe and her allies had with the Science Club went beyond the battle over a single drug trial. Michael Specter, The New Yorker, 7 June 2021 However, the most ridiculous grievance is coming from those who are trying to turn this into a racial issue and claiming Tebow is getting another chance in the NFL when Colin Kaepernick hasn’t. Mike Bianchi,, 22 May 2021 The grievance argues that his dismissal violated due process and Virginia code that does not allow immediate dismissal. Stephanie Pagones, Fox News, 15 May 2021 The grievance was first reported by the New York Post. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, 13 May 2021 The Providence School Board denied the grievance, and the matter is now before an arbitrator., 1 Apr. 2021 The grievance seemed to fall by the wayside during Trump's final months in office, which were consumed by his reelection campaign, the growing coronavirus pandemic and other issues. Jonathan Mattise, Star Tribune, 11 Feb. 2021 That’s why the league settled the union grievance filed by the former 49ers quarterback and his former teammate Eric Reid. Kurt Streeter, New York Times, 25 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grievance.' 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 grievance

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for grievance

see grieve

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Time Traveler for grievance

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The first known use of grievance was in the 14th century

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Statistics for grievance

Last Updated

14 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Grievance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for grievance



English Language Learners Definition of grievance

: a feeling of having been treated unfairly
: a reason for complaining or being unhappy with a situation
: a statement in which you say you are unhappy or not satisfied with something


griev·​ance | \ ˈgrē-vəns How to pronounce grievance (audio) \

Kids Definition of grievance

: a reason for complaining


griev·​ance | \ ˈgrē-vəns How to pronounce grievance (audio) \

Legal Definition of grievance

1 : a cause of distress (as an unsatisfactory working condition or unfair labor practice) felt to afford a reason for complaint or dispute especially : a violation of a collective bargaining agreement usually by the employer
2 : the formal expression of a grievance brought especially by an employee as the initial step toward resolution through a grievance procedure — see also arbitration, grievance arbitration at arbitration, mediation


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