grisly

adjective
gris·​ly | \ ˈgriz-lē \
grislier; grisliest

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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Other Words from grisly

grisliness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for grisly

ghastly, grisly, gruesome, macabre, lurid mean horrifying and repellent in appearance or aspect. ghastly suggests the terrifying aspects of corpses and ghosts. a ghastly accident grisly and gruesome suggest additionally the results of extreme violence or cruelty. an unusually grisly murder suffered a gruesome death macabre implies a morbid preoccupation with the physical aspects of death. a macabre tale of premature burial lurid adds to gruesome the suggestion of shuddering fascination with violent death and especially with murder. the lurid details of a crime

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."

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 on the Web

Democrats were evil in my eyes, supporters of the grisly dismemberment of babies in the womb, controlling the poor by getting them addicted to government handouts, and promoting communist ideals. Cindy Mallette, Vox, "In a year of hyperpartisanship, I did the unthinkable — I changed my mind about politics.," 20 Dec. 2018 During the trial, prosecutors revealed Kasian’s grisly death stemmed from Leibel’s jealousy and anger over the baby as well as his need for power and control over his fiancée, the spokesperson tells PEOPLE. Alexia Fernandez, PEOPLE.com, "Graphic Novelist Who Tortured Fiancée to Death Was Jealous of Attention She Paid to Newborn Daughter: Prosecutor," 21 June 2018 On Tuesday, a passerby spotted a foot sticking out of a plastic bag by the boardwalk that washed ashore in Barretto Point Park, about three miles away from the initial grisly discovery. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Woman whose body found in bags at NYC parks beaten to death by best friend’s boyfriend, cops say," 30 Aug. 2018 The Clue game is even better, as there's no grisly murder to solve here. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Stop Everything: 'Golden Girls' Monopoly and Clue Are 40% Off on Amazon," 16 July 2018 To some degree, the threats Ford is receiving now are a grisly reminder of how consequential her testimony actually was. Anna North, Vox, "Christine Blasey Ford has a security detail because she still receives threats," 8 Nov. 2018 The grisly human trafficking eventually stopped, but some say those who died in captivity have had a hard time leaving this world. Condé Nast Traveler, "8 Most Haunted Cities In America and Why You Should Visit," 18 Oct. 2018 This anthology of four grisly horror shorts are all directed by women. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The 28 Best Halloween Movies on Netflix," 11 Oct. 2018 For more than two decades, forensic photographer Nick Marsh has been taking pictures of grisly crime scenes all over the United Kingdom. Jordan Valinsky, Popular Mechanics, "What It's Really Like to be a Forensic Photographer," 21 Apr. 2015

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.

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First Known Use of grisly

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for grisly

Middle English, from Old English grislic, from gris- (akin to Old English āgrīsan to fear); akin to Old High German grīsenlīh terrible

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Dictionary Entries near grisly

gris-gris

griskin

grisle

grisly

Gris-Nez, Cape

grison

grissen

Statistics for grisly

Last Updated

6 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for grisly

The first known use of grisly was in the 12th century

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More Definitions for grisly

grisly

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of grisly

: causing horror or fear : very shocking

grisly

adjective
gris·​ly | \ ˈgriz-lē \
grislier; grisliest

Kids Definition of grisly

: horrible sense 1, gruesome a grisly murder

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More from Merriam-Webster on grisly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grisly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grisly

Spanish Central: Translation of grisly

Nglish: Translation of grisly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grisly for Arabic Speakers

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