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[grim-uh s, gri-meys] /ˈgrɪm əs, grɪˈmeɪs/
a facial expression, often ugly or contorted, that indicates disapproval, pain, etc.
verb (used without object), grimaced, grimacing.
to make grimaces.
Origin of grimace
1645-55; < FrenchFrankish *grima mask (cf. grime, grim) + -azo < Latin -āceus -aceous
Related forms
grimacer, noun
grimacingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for grimacing
Historical Examples
  • Can you see Peter kow-towing to concert directors, and grimacing at an audience?

  • Lieutenant Tibbetts stumbled to his feet glaring and grimacing wildly.

    Bones Edgar Wallace
  • Ferdie saw him; his shoulders made a quick movement; an inarticulate sound came from his flattened, grimacing mouth.

    Jupiter Lights Constance Fenimore Woolson
  • Why, but what, he reflected, grimacing—what if he had too hastily married somebody else?

  • "Dog bites," replied Rolfe, grimacing as he gave the word, curious yet unbelieving.

    Gold Out of Celebes Aylward Edward Dingle
  • The doctor stood by the table, drumming with his fingers and grimacing.

    The Squirrel-Cage Dorothy Canfield
  • It can only be favorable to those who have contracted ill habits of grimacing or of contortions of the face while they perform.

    A Treatise on the Art of Dancing Giovanni-Andrea Gallini
  • Her eyes, in the centre of her flabby and grimacing face, were of celestial beauty.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
  • Glory noticed that two of these women, who were grimacing and lisping, had spoken to a man who was also lounging about.

    The Christian Hall Caine
  • Mademoiselle is serious, persisted the young man, bowing and grimacing.

    Bliss, and Other Stories Katherine Mansfield
British Dictionary definitions for grimacing


an ugly or distorted facial expression, as of wry humour, disgust, etc
(intransitive) to contort the face
Derived Forms
grimacer, noun
grimacingly, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from French grimace, of Germanic origin; related to Spanish grimazo caricature; see grim
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 grimacing



1650s, from French grimace, from Middle French grimache, from Old French grimuce "grotesque face, ugly mug," possibly from Frankish (cf. Old Saxon grima "face mask," Old English grima "mask, helmet"), from same Germanic root as grim (adj.). With pejorative suffix -azo (from Latin -aceus).


1762, from French grimacer, from grimace (see grimace (n.)). Related: Grimaced; grimacing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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