- 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 grimness
She smiled, but there was a hint of grimness in the bending of her lips.Within the Law
Even Nellie, child that she was, understood the grimness of the battle before them.Dust
Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
No man with a gleam of humour could have kept a mask of grimness.It Happened in Egypt
C. N. Williamson
"Don't worry: I'm going to tell you," she said, her grimness not relaxed.Alice Adams
Peter Blood considered him with a grimness that increased his panic.Captain Blood
- 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 grimness
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.).