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 Consider this your opportunity to make amends for a grievous mistake. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "Dear Jerry Jones: Your instincts are right this time. Go get J.J. Watt.," 12 Feb. 2021 Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer claims Trump's statement and actions surrounding the Capitol Hill siege, including challenging the results of the 2020 election, were too grievous to ignore. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, "Group led by Jay and Jordan Sekulow issues legal analysis calling Trump impeachment 'unconstitutional'," 8 Feb. 2021 Of the 22 states represented by at least one NFL team, only one hung up a worse winning percentage this season than Texas, where the Cowboys and Texans have been found guilty of grievous sins against the state religion. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "Whatever the Cowboys and Texans have lacked lately in relevance, they’ve made up in QB intrigue," 25 Jan. 2021 The first time might be chalked up to a rookie mistake — a grievous one, no doubt. Jay Cost, Washington Examiner, "Swamped," 21 Jan. 2021 Other experts look at the state of the modern GOP and see not a grievous threat to democracy, but rather a bungling display of incompetence and self-interest. Washington Post, "GOP efforts to overturn election may do lasting harm to democracy, political scientists warn," 13 Dec. 2020 This money could be used to help people who have suffered most in the pandemic: those who have lost their jobs and face evictions, whose health has been permanently impaired, who face grievous hardship of all kinds. Richard H. Thaler, Star Tribune, "Give early vaccinations to the highest bidders," 12 Dec. 2020 The winter holidays in 1918 were marked by grievous loss. New York Times, "Holidays in a Pandemic? Here’s What Happened in 1918," 9 Dec. 2020 After habitually using grievous tragedies as the punch line for jokes, many critics struggle to find a literary voice that can analyze these same problems as complex social issues. Theodore Gioia, The New Republic, "Death to the Negative Restaurant Review," 16 Dec. 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for grievous

Last Updated

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Grievous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for grievous



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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