grisly

adjective
gris·​ly | \ ˈgriz-lē How to pronounce grisly (audio) \
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

Bewitched, a series about a beautiful, kind witch, became a wildly popular television show, reversing the traditionally grisly, evil image of witches that prevailed in film and television. Kelsea Stahler, Teen Vogue, "The Resurgence of Witches in Pop Culture Like Sabrina, AHS "Coven," and "Charmed" Reflects Women in the Real World," 14 Nov. 2018 Responding to reports from local people, PROFEPA, working with the Mexican Navy, the Mexican Turtle Center, the Universidad del Mar, fishermen, and officials from the Municipality of Santa María Colotepec, investigated the grisly remains. James Rogers, Fox News, "More than 300 vulnerable sea turtles found dead in sea off Mexico," 29 Aug. 2018 In the aftermath of two ritualistic and grisly murders that happened less than a year apart, Wind Gap’s citizens don’t seem to be terribly concerned about their lives being in danger. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Sharp Objects shows that men can’t comprehend a dangerous woman in “Fix”," 23 July 2018 Scientists, Pinar Yanardag, Manuel Cebrian, and Iyad Rahwan, exposed AI Norman, named after Anthony Perkins’ character in Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho, to a continuous stream of grisly Reddit images of gruesome deaths and violence. Carson Kessler, Fortune, "MIT Scientists Create 'Psychopath' AI Named Norman," 7 June 2018 The grisly crime shocked people across the Continent and beyond, and influenced migration policy. Marc Santora, New York Times, "They Let 71 People Die in a Stifling Truck. They Got 25 Years.," 14 June 2018 Jurors in February convicted Christopher Whitaker of all counts in the girl's grisly 2017 killing and recommended that Whitaker be executed for the crimes. Cory Shaffer, cleveland.com, "Alianna DeFreeze's killer, facing death penalty, to be sentenced," 26 Mar. 2018 Police have yet to discuss a possible motive for the grisly killing. Chris Harris, PEOPLE.com, "Man Charged in Death of Oregon Model Whose Dismembered Body Was Stuffed in Suitcases Inside BMW," 1 Feb. 2018 The hooksword-wielding horror was announced this week as part of the roster, along with a look at his moves and another grisly fatality. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: The film Groundhog Day gets a VR sequel, Creative Assembly teases a new shooter," 8 Feb. 2019

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

14 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce grisly (audio) \
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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