griev·​ous | \ ˈgrē-vəs How to pronounce grievous (audio) \

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 The escalating trade war has dealt a potentially grievous blow to the workings of the global commercial system, and especially to its de facto referee, the World Trade Organization. Peter S. Goodman, New York Times, "Globalization Is Moving Past the U.S. and Its Vision of World Order," 19 June 2019 The death of Soleimani is Iran’s most grievous setback in decades, and Iran seeks vengeance. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Iran’s Options in a Showdown with America Are All Bad," 9 Jan. 2020 Another crucial discrepancy between script and novel lends grievous weight to Ralph’s struggle: In the series, his son, whom Terry coached, has also died, before the story begins. Lauren Christensen, New York Times, "‘The Outsider’ Brings a Faceless Terror, and Stephen King, to HBO," 9 Jan. 2020 The death of the young protestor on Friday is the most grievous tragedy yet, and the bill should be voted on before another similar incident takes place. Benedict Rogers And Johnny Patterson, Time, "Now Is the Time for the U.S. to Stand With Hong Kong," 16 Nov. 2019 As miscalculations go, this blip isn’t anywhere near as grievous as the one-game wild card playoff, or having the All-Star Game determine home field in the World Series (thankfully repealed). Mark Faller, azcentral, "MLB strikes out with boring, black-and-white Players Weekend uniforms," 24 Aug. 2019 Love confesses to Joe a grievous crime of her own and doesn’t repent when Joe looks at her with shock and horror. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "How to Make a Self-Aware Show About a Serial Killer," 30 Dec. 2019 Nonetheless, the Ninth Circuit somehow invented constitutional warrant to declare Boise guilty of a grievous violation of the Bill of Rights. Rich Lowry, National Review, "Homelessness Encampments Aren’t a Constitutional Right," 17 Dec. 2019 Disrespecting the warbonnet is a grievous wrong and dishonors the likes of all who earned them with pride, like Sitting Bull and Rain-in-the-Face. Ruth Hopkins, Teen Vogue, "Celebrating Native American Heritage Month: Dos and Donts," 12 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for grievous

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

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Statistics for grievous

Last Updated

7 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Grievous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for grievous


How to pronounce grievous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of grievous

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


griev·​ous | \ ˈgrē-vəs How to pronounce grievous (audio) \

Kids Definition of grievous

1 : causing suffering or pain a grievous injury
2 : serious sense 2, grave a grievous error

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