To the hordes who wanted time with Lincoln, the gruff and efficient Nicolay was the “grim enforcer.”
The situation has improved somewhat with mandatory hearing tests and the Internet, but can be grim sometimes.
Some Palestinians have reached a grim conclusion: that violence actually works.
In it, grim headlines and social problems give way to an improbable radiance.
This grim vision is put on Barack Obama by the most insipidly cynical.
The cat watched the poor mouse wriggle with grim satisfaction.
There was a grim smile on the cadet's face as he turned away from the wheel.
And the grim little room and solitude for the end of every journey!
He had looked as grim and forbidding at breakfast as a Chinese god of war.
Poetry, too; harsh and grim poetry, often, but the real thing.
Old English grimm "fierce, cruel, savage, dire, painful," from Proto-Germanic *grimmaz (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German, German grimm, Old Norse grimmr, Swedish grym "fierce, furious"), from PIE *ghrem- "angry," perhaps imitative of the sound of rumbling thunder (cf. Greek khremizein "to neigh," Old Church Slavonic vuzgrimeti "to thunder," Russian gremet' "thunder").
A weaker word now than once it was; sense of "dreary, gloomy" first recorded late 12c. It also had a verb form in Old English, grimman (class III strong verb; past tense gramm, p.p. grummen). Old English also had a noun, grima "goblin, specter," perhaps also a proper name or attribute-name of a god, hence its appearance as an element in place names.
Grim reaper as a figurative way to say "death" is attested by 1847 (the association of grim and death goes back at least to 17c.). A Middle English expression for "have recourse to harsh measures" was to wend the grim tooth (early 13c.).
"spectre, bogey, haunting spirit," 1620s, from grim (adj.).