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


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

Francine Walker, a spokeswoman with the Florida Bar, said that the case was being investigated by a grievance committee. Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, "'Psychoanalyzing my tweets': Congress launches ethics probe into Rep. Matt Gaetz for Michael Cohen comments," 28 June 2019 Over the last two years, party officials have upended the process of awarding convention delegates, invited a procession of autopsies and grievance hearings, and reenergized state and local party organizations that had been neglected for years. Evan Halper,, "As first debate nears, Democratic National Committee is still wrestling with demons of 2016," 24 June 2019 Later, many lined up as a grievance counselor applied temporary tattoos with the same inscription. Marc Ramirez, Dallas News, "Dozens gather to remember 13-year-old slain in Pleasant Grove as Dallas' violent crime surge continues," 5 June 2019 One of the most frequently cited grievances centers around bye weeks—specifically, how many opponents get an extra week of rest before taking on their team. Jessica Smetana,, "How Mad Should Notre Dame Fans Be About Bye Weeks?," 4 June 2019 Though a new grievance procedure was introduced over the summer, Cox described it as insufficient, and called for a process to review claims dating from before the start of the last Parliament, in 2017. Ellen Barry, The Seattle Times, "‘Shocking and abhorrent’ abuse rampant in U.K. Parliament, report says," 15 Oct. 2018 But the instrument for the apparent grievance-settling was still a gun, and five innocent people are dead. Dan Rodricks,, "In Annapolis, a perfect breeze to heal and unify," 30 June 2018 Per the contract, an educator has: a personnel file, a letter of expectation file, a grievance file, a building file and an investigation file. Bethany Barnes,, "Investigators say Portland teacher contract endangers children," 11 May 2018 One key leader wasn’t there to hear their grievances: Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Bill Ruthhart,, "After white cop kills black suspect, Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg tries to navigate fallout in South Bend," 21 June 2019

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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Statistics for grievance

Last Updated

8 Jul 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 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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Comments on grievance

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characterized by aphorism

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