\ˈgrinch \

Definition of grinch 

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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 in 20 years "grinch" would 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

The singing reindeer outside an adjacent New York City townhouse officially offended the Upper East Side grinch. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "A Grinch Is Suing His Neighbor for Playing Christmas Music," 14 Dec. 2016 What happened to that grinch Kyle Shanahan who alienated players with his churlish personality? Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "Scott Ostler: 3 Bay Area all-stars discuss mysteries of life in a bar," 6 Jan. 2018 This year, Rotten Tomatoes conducted a survey of more than 1,600 movie and TV fans to determine the most popular specials, sketches, episodes and films dedicated to grinches, eggnog and awkward office Christmas parties. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "These Are the Holiday-Themed Specials and Shows Americans Love the Most," 21 Dec. 2017 Not content with banning Christmas in 2016, the country’s supreme grinch, Kim Jong Un, has taken it one step further by prohibiting gatherings that involve alcohol and singing, according to South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS). Jane Onyanga-omara, USA TODAY, "How Kim Jong Un stole Christmas. North Korea bans singing, drinking at parties," 19 Dec. 2017 There are other changes that could make the IRS look more like a grinch when the changes play out. Lynn Brezosky, San Antonio Express-News, "Payroll group worries workers given too little time to adjust withholding under Trump tax plan," 18 Dec. 2017 Too many people crammed into a small space is almost guaranteed to turn your attendees into grinches. Lesleigh Hammer, Teen Vogue, "Holiday Party Hosting Tips," 8 Dec. 2017 Hewlett-Packard is introducing more than 100 new consumer gadgets on Monday, from digital cameras to photo-quality desktop printers, in anticipation of what could be a grinch-like holiday shopping season. Associated Press, WIRED, "HP Rolls Out 100 New Gadgets," 10 Aug. 2003

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

1966, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for grinch

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

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Dictionary Entries near grinch



grin and bear it





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Time Traveler for grinch

The first known use of grinch was in 1966

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English Language Learners Definition of grinch

: an unpleasant person who spoils other people's fun or enjoyment

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More from Merriam-Webster on grinch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grinch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grinch

Britannica English: Translation of grinch for Arabic Speakers

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