[groo-suh m]


Related formsgrew·some·ly, adverbgrew·some·ness, noun


or grew·some

[groo-suh m]


causing great horror; horribly repugnant; grisly: the site of a gruesome murder.
full of or causing problems; distressing: a gruesome day at the office.

Origin of gruesome

1560–70; obsolete grue to shudder (cognate with German grauen, Dutch gruwen) + -some1
Related formsgrue·some·ly, adverbgrue·some·ness, nounun·grue·some, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for grewsome

Historical Examples of grewsome

  • This grewsome horseplay in Europe's front yard would start it.

    Erik Dorn

    Ben Hecht

  • Every fourth or fifth residence yielded its toll to the grewsome lure.

    A Son of the City

    Herman Gastrell Seely

  • In his throat was an odd, half-suppressed cry, grewsome to hear.

  • Gory and grewsome,—he is the mainstay Of the historic novel of to-day.

    A Phenomenal Fauna

    Carolyn Wells

  • Cardinal Lorraine is said to have gone by this grewsome, subterranean passage.

    In Chteau Land

    Anne Hollingsworth Wharton

British Dictionary definitions for grewsome



an archaic or US spelling of gruesome



inspiring repugnance and horror; ghastly
Derived Formsgruesomely, adverbgruesomeness, noun

Word Origin for gruesome

C16: originally Northern English and Scottish; see grue, -some 1
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

Word Origin and History for grewsome



1560s, with -some (1) + Middle English gruen "feel horror, shudder" (c.1300); not recorded in Old English or Norse, possibly from Middle Dutch gruwen or Middle Low German gruwen "shudder with fear" (cf. German grausam "cruel"), or from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish grusom "cruel," grue "to dread," though others hold that these are Low German loan-words). One of the many Scottish words popularized in England by Scott's novels.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper