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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Gableman did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the grievance's allegations. Molly Beck, Journal Sentinel, 25 July 2022 The only grievance to be had with this frother was the hot chocolate's mixing performance, but even that cannot be dismissed, as there was still about an inch of foam produced. Alyssa Brascia,, 21 July 2022 The 24-page grievance was initially filed in November 2021 on behalf of Diamantis and appealed on Jan. 19 to the state Employee Review Board. Dave Altimari, Hartford Courant, 22 June 2022 May 4, 1998: The City’s Office of Labor Relations denied the grievance., 9 June 2022 School-board meetings have turned into forums for political theatre that emphasizes the grievance of white parents and denies the realities of racial discrimination. Keeanga-yamahtta Taylor, The New Yorker, 15 May 2022 There was also a sense that the grievance with the Broadway League process could broaden the issue beyond just one non-union production. Caitlin Huston, The Hollywood Reporter, 5 May 2022 The same grievance can be heard from mayors of struggling towns throughout the nation. Los Angeles Times, 6 Apr. 2022 The league determined that settling the grievance and focusing on the league’s investigation was appropriate. oregonlive, 23 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

1 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Grievance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for grievance


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

More from Merriam-Webster on grievance

Nglish: Translation of grievance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grievance for Arabic Speakers


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