griz·​zly | \ ˈgriz-lē How to pronounce grizzly (audio) \
grizzlier; grizzliest

Definition of grizzly

Frequently Asked Questions About grizzly

Is grizzly a noun or an adjective?

Grizzly is both a noun and an adjective. The adjective, meaning "grizzled; sprinkled or streaked with gray," came first. In the early 19th century grizzly also began to be used as a noun, a shortened form of grizzly bear (which was so named because of the animal's grayish fur).

What is the difference between grizzly and grisly?

Grizzly bears are large and ferocious carnivores, and so it is not at all surprising that many people would assume that the initial portion of their name should be interchangeable with grisly. However, grizzly and grisly are not at all synonymous. Grizzly means "sprinkled or streaked with gray," and grisly means "inspiring horror or intense fear" or "inspiring disgust or distaste."

"Are grizzly and grisly from the same root?"

Although these two words are spelled in similar fashion and are often confused, they do not share a root. The word grizzly derives from the Middle English grisel¸ which means "gray" and comes from the Anglo-French gris, describing the same color. Grisly, on the other hand, comes from the Old English grislic, related to an Old English verb meaning "to fear."

Examples of grizzly in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The film’s climactic scene involves Birdie ordering one of his players to avenge the team’s championship loss to Kyle’s team by shooting him moments after the game is finished, a grizzly consequence reflective of a cutthroat world. Keith Nelson, Men's Health, 29 July 2022 Prosecutors have arrested and charged dozens of rioters for their part in the grizzly battle inside the Lower West Terrace tunnel. Holmes Lybrand And Hannah Rabinowitz, CNN, 24 Dec. 2021 Alaska is a unique place — record breaking temperatures below zero, summer nights where the sun doesn’t set, grizzly bears on your morning walk. Meghan Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News, 20 Dec. 2021 The grizzly aftereffects are immediately apparent as the other woman frantically calls 911, but to no avail as the woman bleeds out to her death. Rayna Reid Rayford, Essence, 20 July 2022 Questionable animal fathers include grizzly bears that eat their young when food is scarce, and lions that primarily stand guard and look tough while female lions venture out to hunt and kill. Kristen Rogers, CNN, 19 June 2022 Of the 15 animals listed, grizzly bears came in first place of least likely to kill at 6%. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, 27 May 2022 It’s not uncommon to encounter deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats and, yes, black and grizzly bears. Outside Online, 7 Apr. 2022 Montana held grizzly hunts until 1991 under an exemption to the federal protections that allowed 14 bears to be killed each fall. Matthew Brown, ajc, 6 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grizzly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of grizzly

1594, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of grizzly was in 1594

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Dictionary Entries Near grizzly



grizzly bear

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Statistics for grizzly

Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Grizzly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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