me·​grim ˈmē-grəm How to pronounce megrim (audio)
: fancy, whim
megrims plural : low spirits

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The History of Megrim Could Be Headache Inducing

Megrim and "migraine" share a meaning and an etymology. Latin and Greek speakers afflicted with a pain in one side of the head called their ailment "hemicrania" or "hēmikrania," from the Greek terms hēmi-, meaning "half," and kranion, meaning "cranium." French-speaking sufferers used "migraine," a modification of "hemicrania," for the same condition. English speakers borrowed "migraine" from French - twice. First, they modified the French term to form "migreime," which in turn gave rise to "megrim" in the 15th century. Later, in the 18th century, they returned to French and borrowed "migraine" again, this time retaining its French spelling. Nowadays, "megrim" and "migraine" can still be used interchangeably, but "megrim" has other meanings as well.

Examples of megrim in a Sentence

having no sense of purpose, he was often at the mercy of the strange megrims that sprang into his head
Recent Examples on the Web By 1781, the French word migraine entered the English language as the accepted medical term, replacing older words such as megrim . Sibbie O'Sullivan, Washington Post, 10 June 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'megrim.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English migreime, from Middle French migraine — more at migraine

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of megrim was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near megrim

Cite this Entry

“Megrim.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Medical Definition


me·​grim ˈmē-grəm How to pronounce megrim (audio)
: any of numerous diseases of animals marked by disturbance of equilibrium and abnormal gait and behavior
usually used in plural
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