[ gruh-vey-muhn ]
See synonyms for gravamen on
noun,plural gra·vam·i·na [gruh-vam-uh-nuh]. /grəˈvæm ə nə/. Law.
  1. the part of an accusation that weighs most heavily against the accused; the substantial part of a charge or complaint.

  2. a grievance.

Origin of gravamen

1595–1605; <Late Latin: trouble, physical inconvenience, equivalent to Latin gravā(re) to load, weigh down (derivative of gravis heavy, burdened) + -men noun suffix

Words Nearby gravamen Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use gravamen in a sentence

  • This hazarding of Mrs. Owen's favor became now the gravamen of his offense, the culmination of all his offenses.

    A Hoosier Chronicle | Meredith Nicholson
  • The gravamen of the charge is so well known to the reader that the simple account which Phineas gave of it need not be repeated.

    The Prime Minister | Anthony Trollope
  • You will observe, of course, that the gravamen of this consists in my having done so after the confession.

  • A glance at his paean to Arnold Bennett at once reveals the true gravamen of his objection to Dreiser.

    A Book of Prefaces | H. L. Mencken
  • An open pocketbook will easily secure a petition for pardon, it makes but little difference as to the "gravamen" of the crime.

    The Twin Hells | John N. Reynolds

British Dictionary definitions for gravamen


/ (ɡrəˈveɪmɛn) /

nounplural -vamina (-ˈvæmɪnə)
  1. law that part of an accusation weighing most heavily against an accused

  2. law the substance or material grounds of a complaint

  1. a rare word for grievance

Origin of gravamen

C17: from Late Latin: trouble, from Latin gravāre to load, from gravis heavy; see grave ²

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