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

The report brought the grisly case back into the spotlight just as the prince and his country appeared to be emerging from the stain of the scandal. Washington Post, "‘Joints will be separated’: Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, retold," 19 June 2019 Nic and the Captain talk lingering mysteries, grisly murders, and craft beer. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "These Podcasts Will Satisfy Your Craving For Making A Murderer," 15 June 2019 These grisly artifacts lend an intriguing element to the sweep of events that resulted in the end of one of the richest, most sophisticated, scientifically advanced cultures of its time. Gabriel D. Wrobel, The Conversation, "Trophies made from human skulls hint at regional conflicts around the time of Maya civilization’s mysterious collapse," 10 June 2019 Lawrence-Daley posted this week on Facebook about the attack in the thriving Dominican tourist area of Punta Cana, showing grisly pictures of the damage done to her face. CBS News, "Some info "doesn't match" statements about attack on U.S. woman at Dominican resort, police say," 3 June 2019 In classical Greek tragedy, a chorus supplies commentary on the grisly doings of gods and men. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: A Heroine Burning With Purpose," 29 Mar. 2019 The grisly scene was revealed after Weldon was arrested for allegedly kidnapping and beating another woman who managed to survive. Laura Crimaldi, BostonGlobe.com, "Before kidnapping charges, Stewart Weldon cast a long shadow in Springfield," 17 June 2018 That is until the end of the first act, when the play takes a sharp turn with a grisly fight scene that, while artfully choreographed, raises a dramatic hurdle that the script can’t clear. Maya Phillips, New York Times, "Review: A Bad Romance with Operatic Overtones in ‘Dido of Idaho’," 29 Mar. 2018 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

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

23 Jun 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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