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[greef] /grif/
keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.
a cause or occasion of keen distress or sorrow.
come to grief, to suffer disappointment, misfortune, or other trouble; fail:
Their marriage came to grief after only two years.
good grief, (used as an exclamation of dismay, surprise, or relief):
Good grief, it's started to rain again!
Origin of grief
1175-1225; Middle English gref, grief < Anglo-French gref; see grieve
Related forms
griefless, adjective
grieflessness, noun
1. anguish, heartache, woe, misery; sadness, melancholy, moroseness. See sorrow.
1. joy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for grief
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And she confides her grief to the world with such charming discretion.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • What consternation and grief there would be throughout the world!

    Biography of a Slave Charles Thompson
  • Still there was that in them which respected the mother's grief; they tried to shield her.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • In these hours of grief, the soul of him put out its strength.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • No wonder Bassanio exaggerates his grief and the sacrifice he would be prepared to make.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
British Dictionary definitions for grief


deep or intense sorrow or distress, esp at the death of someone
something that causes keen distress or suffering
(informal) trouble or annoyance: people were giving me grief for leaving ten minutes early
(informal) come to grief, to end unsuccessfully or disastrously
tune someone grief, See tune (sense 17)
Derived Forms
griefless, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Anglo-French gref, from grever to grieve1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for grief

early 13c., "hardship, suffering, pain, bodily affliction," from Old French grief "wrong, grievance, injustice, misfortune, calamity" (13c.), from grever "afflict, burden, oppress," from Latin gravare "to cause grief, make heavy," from gravis "weighty" (see grave (adj.)). Meaning "mental pain, sorrow" is from c.1300.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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grief in Medicine

grief (grēf)
Deep mental anguish, as that arising from bereavement.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for grief



Complaints; faultfinding; reprimand: I don't want no grief from the fourteenth floor (1929+)

Related Terms

give someone grief

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with grief
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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