griev·​ance | \ ˈgrē-vən(t)s \

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

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Synonyms for grievance


down [chiefly British], grudge, resentment, score

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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 company has an endless list of grievances and a long memory. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "Fox News wants everyone else to tell Twitter how mad it is at Twitter," 15 Nov. 2018 Faraday Future believes Evergrande wrongfully withheld this money after agreeing to advance it, and filed a grievance with an arbitration court in Hong Kong (where the Evergrande subsidiary that technically made the investment is headquartered). Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Federal court freezes Faraday Future CEO’s ownership stake, California mansions," 14 Dec. 2018 The players' union filed a grievance about the policy change, and in July, the new policy was put on hold while the NFL and NFL Players Association work on a resolution. Nicole Darrah, Fox News, "NFL regular season opener sees no kneeling during national anthem," 7 Sep. 2018 The union won another wage dispute with the county, which began in 2012 when a deputy filed a grievance with the county over stand-by and call-back pay. Alison Knezevich,, "Sheriff's deputies in dispute with Baltimore County over wages, staffing, guns and vehicles," 18 June 2018 The players' union said it wasn't consulted in the talks and would file a grievance against any change in the collective bargaining agreement., "Stand Or Stay Out of Sight: NFL Takes on Anthem Protesters," 23 May 2018 Colin Kaepernick filed a grievance claiming that NFL owners colluded to keep him out of the NFL. Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root, "Colin Kaepernick’s Collusion Case Just Proved NFL Teams Believed He Was Good Enough to Start, so Why Doesn’t He Have a Job?," 21 May 2018 Elliott said in the complaint she was prompted to file the grievance because Hamilton has received multiple requests from constituents about the need for speed bumps in her district, which is comprised entirely of western Louisville. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "Complaint: Councilwoman bought Derby gala tickets with taxpayer money," 17 May 2018 Since Los Alamitos' move to ignore state law, several cities in Orange County and other counties have voted to voice similar grievances and pass similar resolutions. Cindy Carcamo,, "Orange County anti-sanctuary leaders to meet with President Trump," 14 May 2018

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 1

History and Etymology for grievance

see grieve

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Statistics for grievance

Last Updated

7 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for grievance

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

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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 \

Kids Definition of grievance

: a reason for complaining


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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Comments on grievance

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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