Synonym Chooser

How is the word grisly different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of grisly are ghastly, gruesome, lurid, and macabre. While all these words mean "horrifying and repellent in appearance or aspect," grisly and gruesome suggest additionally the results of extreme violence or cruelty.

an unusually grisly murder
suffered a gruesome death

When is ghastly a more appropriate choice than grisly?

Although the words ghastly and grisly have much in common, ghastly suggests the terrifying aspects of corpses and ghosts.

a ghastly accident

How do lurid and gruesome relate to one another, in the sense of grisly?

Lurid adds to gruesome the suggestion of shuddering fascination with violent death and especially with murder.

the lurid details of a crime

When might macabre be a better fit than grisly?

While the synonyms macabre and grisly are close in meaning, macabre implies a morbid preoccupation with the physical aspects of death.

a macabre tale of premature burial


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Cite this Entry

“Grisly.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

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