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 discarded — assuredly the least skilled, least educated among us — will suffer grievous harm. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "‘Stuffing Their Mouths with Gold’ — Selling the Biden/Yellen Tax Cartel," 10 Apr. 2021 It wasn’t deployed in any of the recent high-profile cases, a decision that Brown, the pastor, said was a grievous mistake. Washington Post, "Police keep using force against Black citizens in Rochester. And the demands for change keep growing.," 6 Apr. 2021 The loss, or what might better be described as the grievous sense of waste, is profoundly communal. Los Angeles Times, "With Josh O’Connor and Lupita Nyong’o, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ speaks to our fractured society," 14 Apr. 2021 Despite his grievous injuries, Shook managed to call his supervisors before losing consciousness, NBC affiliate WCNC reported. NBC News, "6th victim dies following South Carolina shooting rampage," 8 Apr. 2021 Both have survived grievous hardships in their lives. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, "‘It Was Joe and Bob’: Dole and Biden On Making Washington Work," 22 Feb. 2021 Experts say that filming an attack is also an act of courage that can deter the assailant from inflicting even more grievous harm., "Would you jump in to stop an assault?," 3 Apr. 2021 Namelessness, especially in a collection that plays with notions of authorial identity, isn’t such a grievous offense on its own. Hillary Kelly, Los Angeles Times, "Review: How Haruki Murakami fell down a literary well," 1 Apr. 2021 The Covid pandemic, like the threat of rising seas and climate migration, requires citizens to adopt a core understanding of their behaviors and consumer preferences that involve potentially grievous harm to other people. Mariana Mazzucato, The New Republic, "Saving the Climate in a Triple Crisis," 15 Mar. 2021

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

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

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

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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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