- stern and admitting of no appeasement or compromise: grim determination; grim necessity.
- of a sinister or ghastly character; repellent: a grim joke.
- having a harsh, surly, forbidding, or morbid air: a grim man but a just one; a grim countenance.
- fierce, savage, or cruel: War is a grim business.
Origin of grim
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for grimmest
“Contact tracing” sounds like something that would excite only the grimmest of health-care operations implementation scientists.Doctors Without Borders Hits Ebola Breaking Point
Abby Haglage, Kent Sepkowitz
October 21, 2014
This she manages by sleeping with men she encounters in the most sordid bars in the grimmest towns she can find.American Dreams, 1943: 'Two Serious Ladies' by Jane Bowles
May 30, 2013
Dick believed that Grant must have laughed one of his grimmest laughs.The Rock of Chickamauga
Joseph A. Altsheler
That night, winter, in its grimmest sense, settled upon Quinton.Janet of the Dunes
Harriet T. Comstock
"You're a likely youngster, you ere," he said, looking down at him with the grimmest of smiles.Sue, A Little Heroine
L. T. Meade
Sister Gaillarde patted me on the shoulder with her grimmest smile.In Convent Walls
Emily Sarah Holt
"I am glad to have been of service," said the other, looking his grimmest.At Sunwich Port, Complete
- stern; resolutegrim determination
- harsh or formidable in manner or appearance
- harshly ironic or sinistergrim laughter
- cruel, severe, or ghastlya grim accident
- archaic, or poetic fiercea grim warrior
- informal unpleasant; disagreeable
- hold on like grim death to hold very firmly or resolutely
Word Origin and History for grimmest
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.).