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 The tragedy that is the Tulsa Race Massacre will always be one of the most gruesome moments in history for the Black community. Essence, 31 May 2021 Koch made easy work of delivering even the most gruesome of news with a calm and collected demeanor, having one of the most recognizable voices in Houston's media landscape. Jay R. Jordan, Chron, 28 May 2021 But then reality hits, in the shape of boredom or, if children are involved, something a little more gruesome. Washington Post, 27 May 2021 The most gruesome attacks at the park occurred in 2011 and 2015, where three people were killed by bears. Sudiksha Kochi, USA TODAY, 27 May 2021 The strange, gruesome story of the Greenland shark, the longest-living vertebrate on Earth. Nora Caplan-bricker, The New Yorker, 27 May 2021 Take a moment to remember the victims and the gruesome events at the Steilneset Memorial, a short walk from the center of Vardø. David Nikel, Forbes, 26 May 2021 The scale of attacks that have struck France in recent years may have receded from the gruesome peak of 2015 and 2016, but the threat of terrorism, and the fear that hangs over French politics because of it, has grown more diffuse. Harrison Stetler, The New Republic, 24 May 2021 Mary’s gruesome execution at Fotheringhay Castle also cemented her popular status as a Catholic martyr. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 May 2021

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

3 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gruesome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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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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