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 But in mid-March, Martinez’s deputies helped deal with a gruesome crash when a smugglers’ pickup fleeing state troopers rammed head-on into a another vehicle. Dudley Althaus, San Antonio Express-News, "From ruined economies to tiny Del Rio," 6 May 2021 Caroline told me there are some pretty gruesome torture scenes coming up in next week's episode. Chancellor Agard,, "Batwoman star Wallis Day breaks down Kate Kane's return and identity crisis," 3 May 2021 Women are victimized and blamed for their own gruesome deaths. Frances Solá-santiago,, "Keishla Rodríguez & Andrea Ruiz Deserved More. This Is How Puerto Rico’s Government Failed Them.," 3 May 2021 And then there are the gruesome images of mass cremations in parking lots and on sidewalks. Meenakshi Narula Ahamed, CNN, "India's Covid crisis has revealed the real Narendra Modi," 1 May 2021 This wondrous adventure story, punctuated by scenes of gruesome violence, begins in 1830. Dorothy Wickenden, WSJ, "Five Best: Novels on Slavery and the Civil War," 30 Apr. 2021 And there’s the whole Nordic-noir phenomenon writ large: gruesome crimes, detectives in parkas, Volvos, etc. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "3 Swedish Shows to Binge When You're Done Watching French TV," 27 Apr. 2021 In addition, one of the most gruesome injuries of all time took place in the final non-title contest of the night, with former champion Chris Weidman suffering a compound fracture to his leg off a kick just 17 seconds into his bout with Uriah Hall. Mike Bohn, Rolling Stone, "UFC President Dana White on Packed Arena: ‘It’s Time to Get Back to Normal’," 25 Apr. 2021 This steady spigot of gruesome creativity kept me engaged and on task. Adam Erace, Fortune, "Why Shudder, a streaming service dedicated to horror movies, brought me comfort during the pandemic," 25 Apr. 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

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gruesome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 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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