“Contact tracing” sounds like something that would excite only the grimmest of health-care operations implementation scientists.
This she manages by sleeping with men she encounters in the most sordid bars in the grimmest towns she can find.
"That's true," said the old lady, with the smile that was the grimmest thing about her.
Sister Gaillarde patted me on the shoulder with her grimmest smile.
And somewhere lost in the maze of his thoughts was the grimmest, bleakest reality of them all: Lucy was dead.
Dick believed that Grant must have laughed one of his grimmest laughs.
The grimmest of Reapers found the most uncomfortable chair in the room, sat, and began reading.
That night, winter, in its grimmest sense, settled upon Quinton.
But the grimmest humor of all was that he blithely imagined himself capable of satisfying the whims, not of one woman, but of two.
"You're a likely youngster, you ere," he said, looking down at him with the grimmest of smiles.
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.).