plural grinches
: a grumpy person who spoils the pleasure of others : killjoy, spoilsport
It was a Christmas only a grinch could appreciate.Sky & Telescope
In between indulgent wine collectors who ignore price tags and frugal wine grinches who live by them are those wine lovers who know quality when they taste it, but refuse to spend a small fortune to get it.Robyn Bullard
… the sheer delight of watching Britain's Got Talent judge and notorious grinch Simon Cowell grow a heart right before the audience's eyes.Michelle Tauber et al.

Did you know?

When Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, wrote the children's book How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 1957, he probably had no idea that grinch would soon enter the general lexicon of English. Like Charles Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge (whose name has become synonymous with miser), the Grinch changes his ways by the story's end, but it's the unreformed character who "hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!" who sticks in our minds. The ill-natured Grinch, with his heart "two sizes too small," provides us with a lively symbol of someone we love to hate, and his name has thus come to refer to any disgruntled grump who ruins the pleasure of others.

Examples of grinch in a Sentence

Only a grinch would complain about the movie's silly plot. accused the mayor of being a grinch after he cancelled the city's annual holiday parade for budgetary reasons
Recent Examples on the Web But seriously, the Freedom Caucus and anti-establishment wing that ousted McCarthy over cutting that initial spending deal stands ready to be the grinch in this scenario. Leah Askarinam, ABC News, 21 Nov. 2023 Which brings us to this Christmas and a pernicious grinch named COVID who has teamed up with the Grim Reaper to batter us with waves of record-setting deaths, a resurgence of jobless claims and another lockdown here and in much of California. San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Dec. 2020 Does the sentimentality of the golden age Miracle on 34th Street (or its 1994 remake) warm the cockles of a grinch-like heart? Jordan Wilson, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Dec. 2019 Consider this my public service announcement one for all the grinches, the recluses, and sufferers of seasonal affective disorder. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, 20 Dec. 2019 Only California, Hawaii and Nevada are bigger grinches, the study found. David Selig,, 10 Dec. 2019 These grinches, who formed the Saint Nicholas Society of New York, would change the world with two little poems. Daniel Burke, CNN, 6 Dec. 2019 Sellers are playing the grinch as 2019 draws to a close. Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post, 4 Dec. 2019 Christmas at Pemberley Manor features a grinch-like billionaire (William Darcy) who comes up against an event planner (Elizabeth Bennett) who's determined to use his sprawling mansion for a holiday festival. Lourdes Avila Uribe, Glamour, 24 Dec. 2018 See More

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

Word History


from the Grinch, character in the children's story How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957) by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel)

First Known Use

1966, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of grinch was in 1966


Dictionary Entries Near grinch

Cite this Entry

“Grinch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

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