gri·​mace | \ ˈgri-məs How to pronounce grimace (audio) , gri-ˈmās\

Definition of grimace

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a facial expression usually of disgust, disapproval, or pain a grimace of hate and rage


grimaced; grimacing

Definition of grimace (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from grimace


grimacer noun

Synonyms for grimace

Synonyms: Noun

face, frown, lower (also lour), moue, mouth, mow, mug, pout, scowl, snoot

Synonyms: Verb

mouth, mug

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of grimace in a Sentence


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: Noun

The shooting, with Mr. Oswald’s pained grimace and Detective Leavelle’s stricken glower, was chillingly captured by Robert H. Jackson of The Dallas Times Herald in an iconic photograph that won the Pulitzer Prize the following year. New York Times, "James R. Leavelle, Detective at Lee Harvey Oswald’s Side, Dies at 99," 29 Aug. 2019 After dropping to his back on the court to celebrate the end of the 4-hour, 50-minute epic, Nadal rose and stood with his index fingers pointed upward and his face fixed in a grimace. Los Angeles Times, "The Sports Report: Everything on course for a Rams-Chargers Super Bowl (too soon?)," 9 Sep. 2019 The shooting, with Oswald’s pained grimace and Mr. Leavelle’s stricken glower, was chillingly captured by Robert H. Jackson of The Dallas Times Herald in an iconic photograph that won the Pulitzer Prize the following year. Ralph Blumenthal,, "James R. Leavelle, detective at Lee Harvey Oswald’s side, dies at 99," 30 Aug. 2019 The young man looks scared as the officers, who resemble Beavis and Butt-head, bare their yellowed teeth in savage grimaces. Sharon Mizota, Los Angeles Times, "Black man, white police and the sly tricks of the eye in Brandon Landers’ painting," 8 Aug. 2019 That announcement drew a noticeable grimace considering Johnson, older brother of senior wideout Collin, has had his collegiate career derailed by injury after injury. Nick Moyle,, "Texas notebook: With pads on, Longhorns eager to get physical," 7 Aug. 2019 The people in the courtroom grimace; Celeste wins full custody. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, "The Disappointing, Emmy-Baiting Finale of “Big Little Lies” Season 2," 22 July 2019 Dietrich fell to the ground with a grimace on his face. Bobby Nightengale,, "Derek Dietrich exits Cincinnati Reds game after he was hit by a pitch on his right knee," 17 July 2019 Films of people riding roller coasters often show not delighted smiles but terrified grimaces. Frans De Waal, Discover Magazine, "Cheerful Chimps: Are Animals Really Happy When They Smile?," 31 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Anderson immediately grimaced in pain and was quickly examined by medical personnel. Wells Dusenbury,, "Marlins HR leader Brian Anderson likely done for season after fracturing left hand," 24 Aug. 2019 The exhausted Russian, grimacing in pain, stumbled momentarily, struggling to regain his footing, and churned mechanically forward on hopeless legs of iron as the American shot ahead. Robert D. Mcfadden, New York Times, "Horace Ashenfelter, Olympic Victor of a Cold War Showdown, Dies at 94," 7 Jan. 2018 Pinot was second, more than a minute faster than Alaphilippe, who ground on grimacing to place 11th at the top, still in yellow but with a smaller cushion over his rivals for the race lead. Washington Post, "Taste of the Tour: A signature dessert in Kirk Douglas’ wake," 21 July 2019 Woodruff grimaced after throwing a second strike to Diamondbacks leadoff hitter Tim Locasto in the fourth inning and Milwaukee’s trainer immediately ran out with manager Craig Counsell., "Katie Ledecky loses first major swim final in six years," 21 July 2019 When the pair came out for the change of ends, Strycova was at points limping heavily and grimacing, pulling up after hitting certain shots. Matias Grez, CNN, "Serena Williams to face Simona Halep in Wimbledon final," 11 July 2019 The ball ricocheted into the net, and Zardes grimaced as his teammates celebrated., "Newcomer Tyler Boyd scores twice as U.S. routs Guyana 4-0 in Gold Cup opener," 18 June 2019 The image of Durant grimacing in pain after giving his all to help the Warriors withstand elimination proved to be an image of grit and sacrifice that drew admiration from fans and fellow athletes alike. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Kevin Durant's mother puts son's critics on blast with passionate message following injury," 11 June 2019 The ball ricocheted into the net as teammates celebrated around a stunned, grimacing Zardes. Dave Campbell,, "Newcomer Boyd gets 2 goals for US in 4-0 win over Guyana," 19 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grimace.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of grimace


1651, in the meaning defined above


1762, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for grimace


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about grimace

Statistics for grimace

Last Updated

3 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for grimace

The first known use of grimace was in 1651

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for grimace



English Language Learners Definition of grimace

: a facial expression in which your mouth and face are twisted in a way that shows disgust, disapproval, or pain


gri·​mace | \ ˈgri-məs How to pronounce grimace (audio) , gri-ˈmās\

Kids Definition of grimace

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a twisting of the face (as in disgust or pain)


grimaced; grimacing

Kids Definition of grimace (Entry 2 of 2)

: to twist the face He grimaced in pain.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on grimace

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grimace

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grimace

Spanish Central: Translation of grimace

Nglish: Translation of grimace for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grimace for Arabic Speakers

Comments on grimace

What made you want to look up grimace? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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