noun griev·ance \ ˈgrē-vən(t)s \
|Updated on: 5 Aug 2018

Definition of grievance

1 obsolete : suffering, distress
2 : 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.
3 : the formal expression of a grievance : complaint
  • filed a grievance against her employer

Examples of grievance in a Sentence

  1. He has a deep sense of grievance against his former employer.

  2. She has been nursing a grievance all week.

  3. In the petition, the students listed their many grievances against the university administration.

  4. Several customers came to the front desk to air their grievances.

Recent Examples of grievance from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of grievance

see grieve

Synonym Discussion of grievance

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

GRIEVANCE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of grievance for English Language Learners

  • : 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

GRIEVANCE Defined for Kids


noun griev·ance \ ˈgrē-vəns \

Definition of grievance for Students

: a reason for complaining

Law Dictionary


noun griev·ance \ ˈgrē-vəns \

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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