Definition of gruel
1 : a thin porridge
2 [from to get one's gruel to accept punishment] chiefly British : punishment
3 : something that lacks substance or significance the argument was thin gruel
Recent Examples of gruel from the Web
Confined to a prison in the Republic of Mordovia, she was fed gruel, lost 40 pounds and endured temperatures that plunged to 40 below zero.
Mehetabel was treating her daughter Sarah Huntington (Adriana Mazza), one of her 10 children with gruel.
Helping keep them fed is a volunteer corps of about 80, who work two-hour shifts weighing kittens, taking notes on their eating habits and mixing gruel for those more than a month or so old.
Working an absurd amount of hours, spending no money, eating gruel three times a day.
In fact, this is pretty thin gruel on which to make sweeping claims about the alleged threat posed to the United States by these seven countries, especially because the allegations often did not concern alleged terrorist acts in the United States.
Royal adviser suggested retraining self to think of drumsticks not as delicious treat but as hay for horses or gruel for peasants.
Part of the obsession was driven by xenophobia: Nativists feared that the sudden influx of immigrants from southern and Eastern Europe would make thin gruel of hearty American stock.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gruel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of gruel
Middle English grewel, from Anglo-French gruel, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English grūt grout
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
GRUEL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of gruel for English Language Learners
: a thin food made by boiling oatmeal or some other grain in water or milk
GRUEL Defined for Kids
Definition of gruel for Students
: a thin porridge
Seen and Heard
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