\ ˈgrim How to pronounce grim (audio) \
grimmer; grimmest

Definition of grim

1 : fierce in disposition or action : savage grim wolves
2a : stern or forbidding in action or appearance a grim taskmaster
b : somber, gloomy grim news of the disaster
3 : ghastly, repellent, or sinister in character a grim tale
4 : unflinching, unyielding grim determination

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Other Words from grim

grimly adverb
grimness noun

Examples of grim in a Sentence

Hikers made a grim discovery when they came across a dead body in the woods. The accident serves as a grim reminder of the dangers of drinking and driving. The prognosis is grim—doctors do not expect her to live longer than six months. He paints a grim picture of the prospects for peace. His face looked grim, and we knew his news wouldn't be good.
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Recent Examples on the Web The average pace of deaths from COVID-19 among rural Americans is now nearly double that of people in urban communities, a grim reminder of a disproportionate toll inflicted by the latest wave of the virus. Alexander Tin, CBS News, 1 Oct. 2021 That’s the idea behind a rare collaboration Wednesday night, when late-night talk show comics will take up the increasingly grim subject on their shows, which audiences usually come to expecting entertainment — not dire warnings about the planet. Washington Post, 21 Sep. 2021 Increasingly grim findings from scientists conclude that the world is nearing the point where the level of climate damage from burning oil, gas and coal becomes catastrophic and irreversible. Matthew Daly, Chron, 20 Sep. 2021 State education leaders reported 1,230 coronavirus cases among 920,000 students Thursday evening in their first school tally since June, a grim reminder of the uncertainty hanging over another new school year., 16 Sep. 2021 Sixteen years ago was a grim period when insurgents turned the Iraq war against the US and Hurricane Katrina left people dying in the streets of the Big Easy, becoming a metaphor for the US presidency in free fall. Stephen Collinson And Shelby Rose, CNN, 29 Aug. 2021 Looking at the employment picture month-to-month is more grim, with San Diego County losing 7,800 jobs. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Aug. 2021 But that future is increasingly grim, with fears of the government's collapse and all-out civil war. Luis Martinez, ABC News, 12 Aug. 2021 Others are more grim: One San Francisco model suggests that this surge could peak on Sept. 3 with 336 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in the city — almost 100 more patients than the worst day of the winter surge — and 237 additional deaths. Emma Talley, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grim.' 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 grim

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for grim

Middle English, "fierce, savage, terrifying, repellent, violent, severe," going back to Old English grimm "fierce, savage, harsh, severe," going back to Germanic *grimma-, from earlier *gremma- (whence also Old Frisian grim, grem "fierce, severe, frightening," Old Saxon grimm "fierce, hostile, severe," Old High German grim, grimmi, Old Norse grimmr), adjective derivative from the base of *grimman- "to rage" (whence Old English & Old Saxon grimman "to rage," Old High German grimmen), probably going back to *ghrem-ne-, nasal present from an Indo-European verbal base *ghrem- "roar, rage," whence Avestan graməṇt- "raging," Greek chremetízein "to neigh, whinny," chrémisan "(they) neighed"; with zero-grade ablaut Old Church Slavic vŭzgrĭmě "thundered, roared," Lithuanian grumiù, grumė́ti "to roar, thunder"; with o-grade ablaut Germanic *gram- (whence Old English, Old Saxon & Old High German gram "angry, hostile, fierce," Old Norse gramr "anger," Old English gremman, gremian "to anger, enrage," Old High German gremmen, Old Norse gremja, Gothic gramjan), Old Church Slavic gromŭ "thunder," Greek chrómos, chrómē (Hesychius) "kind of noise, snorting, neighing," chrómados "grinding of jaws" (cf. chromis)

Note: The base *ghrem- is most likely of onomatopoeic origin, with different semantic developments in the Indo-European branch languages.

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Time Traveler for grim

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The first known use of grim was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Grim.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for grim



English Language Learners Definition of grim

: unpleasant or shocking to see or think about
: causing feelings of sadness or worry : gloomy or depressing
: having a very serious appearance or manner


\ ˈgrim How to pronounce grim (audio) \
grimmer; grimmest

Kids Definition of grim

2 : harsh in action or appearance : stern a grim look
3 : gloomy sense 3, dismal grim news
4 : showing firmness and seriousness grim determination
5 : frightful sense 1 a grim tale

Other Words from grim

grimly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on grim

Nglish: Translation of grim for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grim for Arabic Speakers


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