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 At the same time, there appears to be flagging interest in white grievance. John Blake, CNN, "Our country is in chaos. But it's a great time to be an American," 4 July 2020 The players voted 33-5 against accepting ownership’s last offer on a 2020 agreement that would have eliminated the union’s right to file grievance. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "Rangers’ first workout highlighted by reliever Jonathan Hernandez’s ‘absolutely filthy’ simulated inning," 3 July 2020 The players union, which initially sought to play 114 games, is expected to file a grievance against MLB in the next two months, accusing the owners of intentionally delaying negotiations to limit the number of games. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "After blowback, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred clarifies comments on 60-game season," 2 July 2020 Conservative women activists are predominantly white, and white grievance plays a clear role in their political organizing. J.c. Pan, The New Republic, "The “Women’s Vote” Never Existed," 29 June 2020 The offer was contingent on the union waiving its right to file a grievance against the league for bad-faith negotiating. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "MLB players agree to report back to camps on July 1 for 60-game season beginning July 23 or 24," 23 June 2020 Kaepernick filed a grievance against the league in 2017, alleging that he was not signed due to his protest. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "Brett Favre says Colin Kaepernick will be remembered as a "hero" like Pat Tillman," 22 June 2020 In Omak, Espinoza said one of the reasons for their peaceful march, beyond Floyd's killing, was a more local grievance. Anchorage Daily News, "As protests spread to small-town America, militia groups respond with armed intimidation and online threats," 18 June 2020 Kaepernick filed a grievance against the league in 2017, alleging that he was not signed due to his protest. Audrey Mcnamara, CBS News, "Colin Kaepernick to join Medium as only minority board member," 18 June 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for grievance

Last Updated

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Grievance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for grievance


How to pronounce grievance (audio)

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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