variants: also grewsome

Synonyms & Antonyms of gruesome

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About gruesome

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

Some common synonyms of gruesome are ghastly, grisly, 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

Where would ghastly be a reasonable alternative to gruesome?

The words ghastly and gruesome can be used in similar contexts, but ghastly suggests the terrifying aspects of corpses and ghosts.

a ghastly accident

How do lurid and gruesome relate to one another?

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

the lurid details of a crime

When can macabre be used instead of gruesome?

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

a macabre tale of premature burial

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About gruesome

Time Traveler for gruesome

Time Traveler

The first known use of gruesome was circa 1700

See more words from the same year

Thesaurus Entries Near gruesome




See More Nearby Entries 

Cite this Entry

“Gruesome.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on gruesome

Nglish: Translation of gruesome for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gruesome for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!