Definition of grisly
1 : inspiring horror or intense fear houses that were dark and grisly under the blank, cold sky — D. H. Lawrence
2 : inspiring disgust or distaste a grisly account of the fire
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Examples of grisly in a Sentence
The jurors saw grisly photos of the crime scene.
recounted the visit to the murder scene in grisly detail
Recent Examples of grisly from the Web
Those grisly tumors that sprout from Florida’s sea turtles might have finally found their match: lab produced turtle skin.
Saturdays are the biggest protest days at the clinic, and crowds, microphones, grisly signs, ultrasound buses, praying, and shouting have become the norm.
Compare that grisly punishment with present-day Scandinavian correctional practices that show how far the pendulum has swung the other way.
After all the public scrutiny, nationwide protests and grisly videos of police shootings over the past several years, few officers are criminally charged, and when the rare case is prosecuted, hopes rise that justice will be served.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. Deputies serving an eviction notice at a New Mexico home in May made a grisly discovery.
The grisly incident attracted the attention of the Humane Society of the United States, which has put more than half of the reward money.
Neighbors who responded to the injured mother's screaming pleas found the grisly scene and horribly wounded children in the apartment.
With two people in custody, police made a grisly discovery.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grisly'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
An angry grizzly bear could certainly inspire fear, so "grizzly" must be a variant of "grisly," right? Yes and no. The adjective "grisly" is indeed sometimes spelled "grizzly," but the "grizzly" in "grizzly bear" is a different animal altogether. Grisly derives from an Old English predecessor, "grislic," which is itself related to an Old English verb meaning "to fear." "Grizzly" comes from the Middle English adjective grisel, meaning "gray." Like its close relative "grizzled," this grizzly means "sprinkled or streaked with gray." In other words, the grizzly got its name because the hairs of its brownish to buff coat usually have silver or pale tips, creating a grizzled effect, not because it causes terror. The misperception that the bear's name reflects its reputed fierceness probably contributed to the development of the "grizzly" variant of "grisly."
Origin and Etymology of grisly
Middle English, from Old English grislic, from gris- (akin to Old English āgrīsan to fear); akin to Old High German grīsenlīh terrible
First Known Use: 12th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of grisly
GRISLY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of grisly for English Language Learners
: causing horror or fear : very shocking
GRISLY Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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