grue·​some | \ ˈgrü-səm How to pronounce gruesome (audio) \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of gruesome

: inspiring horror or repulsion : grisly gruesome stories of wounded comrades

Other Words from gruesome

gruesomely adverb
gruesomeness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for gruesome

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

Examples of gruesome in a Sentence

The police report described the scene in gruesome detail. didn't stick around to hear the gruesome details of the car accident
Recent Examples on the Web Burrow led the Bengals to the Super Bowl last season, completing 70.4% of his passes and throwing for 4,611 yards and 34 touchdowns in 16 games after returning from a gruesome knee injury that cut his promising rookie season short. Dan Labbe, cleveland, 26 July 2022 Tagovailoa dealt with extensive recovery from his gruesome hip injury sustained in November 2019 while in college at Alabama, coupled with a limited offense and roster his first two seasons. Safid Deen, USA TODAY, 2 June 2022 In the third quarter, Marcus Smart, the Celtics guard who won the Defensive Player of the Year Award, left the game after appearing to sustain a gruesome right leg injury on a rebound attempt. New York Times, 22 May 2022 While its gruesome violence is wildly exaggerated, Squid Game manages to reflect the feeling of the present moment, in the same way the decrepit, deceitful rulers of Game of Thrones reflected audience’s apathy and anger toward the political process. Dani Di Placido, Forbes, 6 Oct. 2021 Gonzalez wanted to add more drama to the movement by having the dancers imagine gruesome detail in their roles. San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 July 2022 Woods’s triumphant return to the Masters this year, which came in the wake of his devastating car crash and gruesome leg injury, got his major season off to a stirring start. Globe Staff,, 13 July 2022 Glass, a volleyball player who competed with Team USA at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, took to Instagram to show her gruesome injuries and describe being assaulted while leaving a restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. Brendan Morrow, The Week, 12 July 2022 Others sustained less gruesome injuries like bruises and scrapes. Natalia Galicza, Sun Sentinel, 12 July 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of gruesome

circa 1700, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gruesome

alteration of earlier growsome, from English dialect grow, grue to shiver, from Middle English gruen, probably from Middle Dutch grūwen; akin to Old High German ingrūēn to shiver

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The first known use of gruesome was circa 1700

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Last Updated

2 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Gruesome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for gruesome


grue·​some | \ ˈgrü-səm \

Kids Definition of gruesome

: causing horror or disgust Some of the potions had effects almost too gruesome to think about …— J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

More from Merriam-Webster on gruesome

Nglish: Translation of gruesome for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gruesome for Arabic Speakers


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