grue·​some | \ˈgrü-səm \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of gruesome 

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

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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

Scheidt, 47, speaks with a warmth and openness and does not spare even the most gruesome detail about his ordeal from the past few years. Steve Knopper,, "Yob is out here with an album of hopeful doom metal, people," 5 July 2018 In a more conventional book, Weiss would have stuck to the commonplace tenets of true crime reporting — the gruesome details, the investigation, interviews with fellow students and their parents. Ivy Pochoda,, "Exploring the complex relationships with teen athletes and coaches with Piper Weiss and Ivy Pochoda," 18 May 2018 The Star-Telegram reported that relatives saw the gruesome scene when the dog had the boy’s neck in his mouth and was shaking him. Fox News, "4-year-old in Texas killed by family dog, report says," 26 Mar. 2018 The police affidavit from that night paints a gruesome scene: blood smeared on the walls, an apartment in complete disarray and visible injuries on his girlfriend — all in the presence of her young son. Houston Chronicle, "Controversial Aqui restaurant in Montrose earns rare four-star review," 5 Feb. 2018 But later, the ex-wife and another witness came forward to repaint the gruesome scene for investigators: Never miss a local story. Max Londberg, kansascity, "KC man killed homeless friend with bat after rape threat, police say | The Kansas City Star," 6 Jan. 2018 Emmett was kidnapped and killed days later, his body tethered to a cotton gin fan with barbed wire and then cast into a river. The case — gruesome and shocking — became a catalyst for the broader civil rights movement. Alan Blinder, New York Times, "U.S. Reopens Emmett Till Investigation, Almost 63 Years After His Murder," 12 July 2018 Nevertheless, just such a horror took place on an adjacent island last year, when a man's body was extracted from a 23-foot-long python, shown in a gruesome YouTube video. Avi Selk, Anchorage Daily News, "A woman went to check her corn - and was swallowed by a python," 17 June 2018 The 2006 death of James Chasse Jr., 42, was particularly gruesome. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Implementation of mental health training plan for officers runs counter to recommendations," 8 June 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for gruesome

Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gruesome

The first known use of gruesome was circa 1700

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More Definitions for gruesome



English Language Learners Definition of gruesome

: causing horror or disgust


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, Chamber of Secrets

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Comments on gruesome

What made you want to look up gruesome? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


full of whispering sounds

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