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

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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 In Tijuana, that work can be particularly gruesome. Gustavo Solis, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Want to interview cartel hit men or human smugglers? These men and women can make it happen," 7 Oct. 2019 His spiritual journey, derailed by the coronavirus, came to an abrupt and gruesome end shortly after the Orthodox Easter. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, "A ‘Breakdown of Trust’: Pandemic Corrodes Church-State Ties in Russia," 5 May 2020 On the second day of my visit, amid the intriguingly gruesome briefings, Khan took me out for sushi. David Quammen, The New Yorker, "Why Weren’t We Ready for the Coronavirus?," 4 May 2020 Dareus had the worst season of his career last year, as an elbow injury hampered him early while a gruesome core injury ended his season after Week 7. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: A trio of free agents who could still help the Dallas Cowboys," 4 May 2020 Despite the injuries, Pantoliano appeared to be in good spirits in an Instagram photo, flashing a thumbs up and a smile while showing off a gruesome gash on the top of his head. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, "'Sopranos' star Joe Pantoliano suffers 'severe head injury' after being hit by car," 2 May 2020 In one of the latest gruesome attacks in western Badghis province, Taliban fighters began an assault late Thursday as an Afghan government militia unit was preparing food for a meal before fasting for the holy month of Ramadan. Mujib Mashal,, "Taliban ramp up attacks even as coronavirus spreads in Afghanistan," 24 Apr. 2020 The government has previously used animals — including cats and dogs — purchased at those markets in gruesome experiments at a federal lab in Maryland. NBC News, "Connecticut town tests 'pandemic drone' to detect fevers. Experts question if it would work.," 23 Apr. 2020 For one, my home state's stay-in-place orders coincided conveniently with a crapton of massive video games, ranging from cute to gruesome to epic, so my past few months of home time have been pretty focused on gaming. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Straight to (CO)Video: We’re finally getting around to watching these things," 19 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for gruesome

Time Traveler

The first known use of gruesome was circa 1700

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Statistics for gruesome

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gruesome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for gruesome


How to pronounce gruesome (audio)

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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