\ ˈgrim How to pronounce grim (audio) \
grimmer; grimmest

Definition of grim

1 : fierce in disposition or action : savage grim wolves
2a : stern or forbidding in action or appearance a grim taskmaster
b : somber, gloomy grim news of the disaster
3 : ghastly, repellent, or sinister in character a grim tale
4 : unflinching, unyielding grim determination

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Other Words from grim

grimly adverb
grimness noun

Examples of grim in a Sentence

Hikers made a grim discovery when they came across a dead body in the woods. The accident serves as a grim reminder of the dangers of drinking and driving. The prognosis is grim—doctors do not expect her to live longer than six months. He paints a grim picture of the prospects for peace. His face looked grim, and we knew his news wouldn't be good.
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Recent Examples on the Web Dilly's 26-year-old sister, Ashlyn Dilly, said in a Facebook post that her family has received grim news. NBC News, "Search is over for Harley Dilly, missing 14-year-old Ohio boy, authorities say," 14 Jan. 2020 Sunday also brought grim news that another firefighter had been killed. Nick Perry, SFChronicle.com, "Australian firefighters go on offense in battle against infernos," 12 Jan. 2020 There isn’t anybody who hasn’t heard about it and is just waiting on that nice lady from Nanny McPhee to share the grim news. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Do Celebrities Really Buy the Climate-Change Story?," 29 Dec. 2019 In terms of climate science, this has been a year of grim news and urgent warnings. Chris Richards, Washington Post, "What’s a Grammy worth on this imperiled planet?," 20 Nov. 2019 Indeed, around the time of the celebrations, grim news broke of two separate murders, involving three children—including an 18-month old toddler in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. The Economist, "World Toilet Day this week is not a joke, but deadly serious," 17 Nov. 2019 With a general election in less than a month, politicians did not miss a beat trying to capitalize on the grim news about the NHS. Jenny Anderson, Quartz, "Britain’s NHS is failing patients more than ever: Will it matter to voters?," 14 Nov. 2019 Despite the grim news, the state citrus department struck an upbeat tone recently, saying an increase in the amount of fruit boxed in the past two years was a sign that the industry was rebounding. BostonGlobe.com, "Citrus growers ‘‘are resilient and optimistic about the future,’’ Shelley Rossetter, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Citrus, said in July. ‘‘Florida will continue to be a major producer of citrus for years to come.’’," 10 Nov. 2019 Advance word of Che’s execution in Bolivia was passed by Cuban intelligence services to Fidel, who called Aleida back from a work stint in the countryside to give her the grim news personally. Lisette Poole, Smithsonian, "Roaring Through Cuba With Che Guevara’s Son," 24 Oct. 2019

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for grim

Middle English, "fierce, savage, terrifying, repellent, violent, severe," going back to Old English grimm "fierce, savage, harsh, severe," going back to Germanic *grimma-, from earlier *gremma- (whence also Old Frisian grim, grem "fierce, severe, frightening," Old Saxon grimm "fierce, hostile, severe," Old High German grim, grimmi, Old Norse grimmr), adjective derivative from the base of *grimman- "to rage" (whence Old English & Old Saxon grimman "to rage," Old High German grimmen), probably going back to *ghrem-ne-, nasal present from an Indo-European verbal base *ghrem- "roar, rage," whence Avestan graməṇt- "raging," Greek chremetízein "to neigh, whinny," chrémisan "(they) neighed"; with zero-grade ablaut Old Church Slavic vŭzgrĭmě "thundered, roared," Lithuanian grumiù, grumė́ti "to roar, thunder"; with o-grade ablaut Germanic *gram- (whence Old English, Old Saxon & Old High German gram "angry, hostile, fierce," Old Norse gramr "anger," Old English gremman, gremian "to anger, enrage," Old High German gremmen, Old Norse gremja, Gothic gramjan), Old Church Slavic gromŭ "thunder," Greek chrómos, chrómē (Hesychius) "kind of noise, snorting, neighing," chrómados "grinding of jaws" (cf. chromis)

Note: The base *ghrem- is most likely of onomatopoeic origin, with different semantic developments in the Indo-European branch languages.

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Time Traveler for grim

Time Traveler

The first known use of grim was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

22 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Grim.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/grim. Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for grim

How to pronounce grim (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of grim

: unpleasant or shocking to see or think about
: causing feelings of sadness or worry : gloomy or depressing
: having a very serious appearance or manner
\ ˈgrim How to pronounce grim (audio) \
grimmer; grimmest

Kids Definition of grim

2 : harsh in action or appearance : stern a grim look
3 : gloomy sense 3, dismal grim news
4 : showing firmness and seriousness grim determination
5 : frightful sense 1 a grim tale

Other Words from grim

grimly adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on grim

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grim

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grim

Spanish Central: Translation of grim

Nglish: Translation of grim for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grim for Arabic Speakers

Comments on grim

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