grudg·​ing ˈgrə-jiŋ How to pronounce grudging (audio)
: unwilling, reluctant
a grudging supporter of the reform movement
a grudging admirer
: done, given, or allowed unwillingly, reluctantly, or sparingly
grudging compliance
grudgingly adverb

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In the 15th century, English jurist Sir John Fortescue observed, "Somme . . . obtayne gretter rewardis than thei have disserved, and yit grugge, seying they have [too] litill." Fortescue's grugge (an early spelling of the verb grudge) meant "to grumble and complain," just like its Middle English forerunner, grucchen, and the Anglo-French word grucer, which gave rise to the English forms. English speakers had adopted the "complain" sense of grudge by the late 13th century, and a century later they had added the extended sense "to give reluctantly." That second sense may have developed because people associated grudge with the related word begrudge (meaning "to give reluctantly," as in "I begrudged him a second chance.") Grudging, which developed from grudge, made its English debut in the 1530s.

Examples of grudging in a Sentence

Her theories have begun to win grudging acceptance in the scientific community. He has earned the grudging admiration of his rivals.
Recent Examples on the Web Yet as the years went on, a hybrid compromise was reached which, while creating grudging acceptance, didn’t necessarily thrill anyone. Chloe Berger, Fortune, 27 Feb. 2024 Her approach drew grudging respect from some Republicans. Mitch Smith, New York Times, 25 Feb. 2024 So the narrative is Elvis appealing to the host, to earn his grudging approval. Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone, 9 Feb. 2024 But the difference between grudging and enthusiastic support could be significant. Maya King, New York Times, 28 Jan. 2024 The great Sam Neill and Deadpool 2's Julian Dennison make a team for the ages, as the unlikely fugitives dodge cops, social workers, trigger-happy hunters, and the occasional wild boar, all while Waititi parcels out the development of their inevitable, grudging bond with the deftest comic touch. Dennis Perkins,, 17 Jan. 2024 Throughout the 20th century, while historical fiction produced plenty of bestsellers, the literati tended, with grudging exceptions, to look down upon historical fiction as middlebrow escapism. Sam Sacks, WSJ, 28 Dec. 2023 Esther tells this story with a certain grudging respect for her father. Adam Kirsch, The New Yorker, 27 Nov. 2023 But Bertha also has a grudging respect for Turner’s ambition and for what she’s been able to accomplish. Brent Lang, Variety, 21 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'grudging.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from present participle of grudge entry 1

First Known Use

circa 1531, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of grudging was circa 1531

Dictionary Entries Near grudging

Cite this Entry

“Grudging.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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