grue·​some | \ ˈgrü-səm How to pronounce gruesome (audio) \
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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 Scott Erskine, who was on death row for the gruesome 1993 abduction and murder of 13-year-old Charlie Keever and his 9-year-old friend Jonathan Sellers, died from what prison officials said appear to be complications from COVID-19. Greg Moran, Los Angeles Times, "Death row inmate Scott Erskine, who murdered two boys in San Diego, dies of COVID-19," 4 July 2020 There is also the worry, now that firearms are part of the picture, that Karen videos have the potential to take a gruesome, violent turn. Hank Stuever, Anchorage Daily News, "Who’s the most galling, captivating character on our screens this summer? It’s ‘Karen’ - and she’s everywhere," 4 July 2020 Most of the men, in the grips of gruesome deaths, welcome the release., "Perry Mason recap: Haunted by wartime horrors, Mason makes a gruesome discovery," 29 June 2020 The video, taken by police officers’ body cameras and not made public until Wednesday, depicts a gruesome episode on April 21., "Alabama history agency admits perpetuating systemic racism," 24 June 2020 The gruesome displays of racial violence were among the worst the United States would ever see. National Geographic, "Remembering ‘Red Summer,’ when white mobs massacred Blacks from Tulsa to D.C.," 19 June 2020 But Monday's gruesome combat between border soldiers proves how quickly unresolved issues between the neighboring giants can turn lethal. Stephen Collinson With Caitlin Hu And Vedika Sud, CNN, "Presidential debates and Modi's China challenge," 23 June 2020 Instead, Chavez, 51, was learning the gruesome details from the cellphone video, filmed by a resident from across the street and later posted to YouTube. NBC News, "'It was an execution': Nicolas Chavez was on his knees when police killed him. His father wants answers.," 19 June 2020 The genetics of eye color was never going to be cracked by the gruesome business of collecting a lot of eyes. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "Revisiting Mengele’s Malignant “Race Science”," 15 June 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

8 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gruesome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 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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