1 of 2


gri·​mace ˈgri-məs How to pronounce grimace (audio) gri-ˈmās How to pronounce grimace (audio)
: a facial expression usually of disgust, disapproval, or pain
a grimace of hate and rage
grimacer noun


2 of 2


grimaced; grimacing

intransitive verb

: to distort one's face in an expression usually of pain, disgust, or disapproval
Grimacing slightly, he runs his finger over the back of his heel, where a deep … fissure has opened inside a callus.Chris Ballard
My father shifted his weight and grimaced. The sheet slid off his injured leg, the calf swollen, purple as a plum …Bernard Cooper

Examples of grimace in a Sentence

Noun The patient made a painful grimace as the doctor examined his wound. he made a grimace when he tasted the medicine
Recent Examples on the Web
Jones was recalling this unconsummated Hollywood courtship with a smile, not a grimace. Chris Willman, Variety, 13 Aug. 2023 But with every putt that rolls away a near miss instead of for birdie, the world sees another McIlroy grimace, another ambition slipping a bit farther away. Alan Blinder, New York Times, 21 July 2023 Then there's the off-putting grimace on the face of the Grand Rapids Griffins Barbie or the misshapen nature of the San Diego Gulls Barbie. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 12 July 2023 Arbery sat up, listened, watched his friends with a smile that could quickly and without warning become a grimace. Chloé Cooper Jones, New York Times, 16 Nov. 2022 Over video, what passed over her face, hearing that time estimate, could be called a grimace. Sophia Nguyen, Washington Post, 26 June 2023 After that, though, his face only registers effort through a few slight grimaces. Ismail Muhammad, New York Times, 12 May 2023 Both teams slipped off into a rainy night with glares and grimaces. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2023 For others, back pain is less sudden or acute but still causes frequent trips to the medicine cabinet or grimaces of discomfort. Daryl Austin, USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2023
At times, Snyder and other dancers had to stop in the middle of a sequence, grimacing and shaking their heads. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 2 Sep. 2023 Washington coach Ron Rivera kept his offensive starters in for the game's first 30 minutes, and not without risk; wide receiver Terry McLaurin grimaced while leaving the field with a toe injury. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, 22 Aug. 2023 My dad grimaced during our team’s first game, wiping his twitchy eyes with a bandana. Teresa Strasser, Good Housekeeping, 9 Aug. 2023 The singer downed a good half of it, grimaced (relatable), then passed the rest off to her guitarist, who finished it with a mighty swig. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 24 July 2023 That caused lawmakers to grimace in shock, while some responded with boos and angry cries. Shannon Larson,, 28 June 2023 The comment causes Andy and Lisa to grimace, and everyone in the room to be disgusted with him, even Schwartz. Marlow Stern, Rolling Stone, 8 June 2023 Josh Rojas paced around the infield dirt, eventually grimacing and dropping into a crouch. Theo MacKie, The Arizona Republic, 4 June 2023 Davis grabbed at his head grimacing before going to the locker room. Janie McCauley, ajc, 11 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'grimace.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



French, from Middle French, alteration of grimache, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English grīma mask

First Known Use


1651, in the meaning defined above


1762, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of grimace was in 1651

Dictionary Entries Near grimace

Cite this Entry

“Grimace.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: facial expression usually of disgust, disapproval, or pain
grimace verb

More from Merriam-Webster on grimace

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!