griev·ous | \ ˈgrē-vəs \

Definition of grievous 

1 : causing or characterized by severe pain, suffering, or sorrow a grievous wound a grievous loss

2 : oppressive, onerous grievous costs of war

3 : serious, grave grievous fault

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Other words from grievous

grievously adverb
grievousness noun

Examples of grievous in a Sentence

the grievous cost of war He took a foolish financial risk and suffered a grievous loss.

Recent Examples on the Web

Though far less original, that’s a more grievous offense than gratifying a water bottle. Jon Wertheim,, "Mailbag: Is Current Form or Past Slam Performance a Better Indicator of Success in Majors?," 27 June 2018 The sculpture — usually the object of our cool perusal — co-opts us into the grievous picture drawn by this suite of works. Cate Mcquaid,, "At the ICA, Kevin Beasley alchemizes dark histories," 23 May 2018 And in the next two days, U.S. ships and planes inflicted such grievous losses on the Japanese fleet that Tokyo abandoned the campaign to retake Guadalcanal. Gary Kamiya, San Francisco Chronicle, "How SF’s namesake ship survived a World War II ‘suicide’ mission," 9 June 2018 The conversation that developed because of this incident examined how the coffee shop employee allegedly demonstrated problematic prejudice and grievous racial ignorance. Lincoln Anthony Blades, Teen Vogue, "Implicit Bias Training: What It Is and How It Works," 29 May 2018 So his grievous betrayal became about substance abuse. Marcos Bretón, sacbee, "The privileged candidate: Why do we let Gavin Newsom get away with this? | The Sacramento Bee," 6 May 2018 Many of the bones bore the marks of grievous wounds dealt just before death, which is no surprise on a battlefield, of course. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "2,000 years ago in Denmark, a fierce battle left dozens dead," 21 May 2018 That’s admirable for an anthropologist, but grievous for a stylist as talented as Hurston. Casey N. Cep, The New Yorker, "Zora Neale Hurston’s Story of a Former Slave Finally Comes to Print," 7 May 2018 Trouble is an old friend to Elon Musk's young automaker, which over a 15-year existence has confronted one near-disaster (flirtations with bankruptcy, high-profile crashes, lawsuits, federal investigations, grievous delays) after another. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Tesla Ramps Up Model 3 Production and Predicts Profits This Fall," 2 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grievous.' 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 grievous

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for grievous

see grieve

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Statistics for grievous

Last Updated

8 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for grievous

The first known use of grievous was in the 13th century

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English Language Learners Definition of grievous

: causing great sadness, suffering, or pain : very serious or severe


griev·ous | \ ˈgrē-vəs \

Kids Definition of grievous

1 : causing suffering or pain a grievous injury

2 : serious sense 2, grave a grievous error

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Comments on grievous

What made you want to look up grievous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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