[ greef ]
/ grif /
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keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.
a cause or occasion of keen distress or sorrow.
verb (used with or without object) griefed, grief·ing.
Digital Technology.
  1. (in an online video game) to behave in an unsportsmanlike way or take pleasure in antagonizing (other players): I reported the jerk who griefed me yesterday—I hope they ban his account.
  2. to exploit a glitch or execute an online prank that ruins a website or other online experience for (users): Posting flashing content to an epilepsy site is taking griefing to a malicious and dangerous extreme.
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Idioms about grief

    come to grief, to suffer disappointment, misfortune, or other trouble; fail: Their marriage came to grief after only two years.
    good grief, (used as an exclamation of dismay, surprise, or relief): Good grief, it's started to rain again!

Origin of grief

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English gref, grief, from Anglo-French gref; see origin at grieve

synonym study for grief

1. See sorrow.


griefless, adjectivegrief·less·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does grief mean?

Grief is mental or emotional suffering or distress caused by loss or regret. It’s especially used to refer to the feeling of sorrow and loss from the death of a loved one.

People who are overwhelmed by grief are often described as grief-stricken. This kind of grief is most commonly associated with death, but the word can also be used in the context of other situations involving loss, such as a divorce or the loss of a job.

The related verb grieve means to mourn—to feel or express intense grief, especially due to a death or loss.

The word grief is also used informally to mean trouble or annoyance, as in Please don’t give your mother any grief when she gets home—her day has been hard enough already. 

Grief is used in the phrase good grief, which is typically used to express alarm or dismay.

Grief is also used in the context of online gaming as a slang term that means something similar to the verb sense of troll—to take pleasure in antagonizing others.

Example: I can’t imagine the amount of grief you feel from the loss of your mother.

Where does grief come from?

The first records of the word grief come from around 1200. It ultimately comes from the Latin verb gravāre, meaning “to burden,” from gravis, “heavy.” The same root forms the basis of the words gravity and the adjective grave meaning “serious.”

The popular theory that there are five stages of grief was developed by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. According to Kübler-Ross, the five stages of grief are:

  1. Denial (This stage involves difficulty believing that what has happened is real.)
  2. Anger (This involves frustration that it has happened to you.)
  3. Bargaining (This can involve thinking about “what if” and trying to find some way out of what has happened.)
  4. Depression. (This involves the sorrow that comes with the realization that what has happened is real and nothing can be done to change it.)
  5. Acceptance. (This stage involves accepting what has happened and attempting to move on.)

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to grief?

  • griefless (adjective)
  • grieflessness (adjective)

What are some synonyms for grief?

What are some words that share a root or word element with grief

What are some words that often get used in discussing grief?

How is grief used in real life?

Grief is especially used to refer to the sorrow felt after the death of a loved one. It’s also commonly used in an informal way to refer to trouble or annoyance.



Try using grief!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of grief?

A. sadness
B. sorrow
C. pleasure
D. bereavement

How to use grief in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for grief

/ (ɡriːf) /

deep or intense sorrow or distress, esp at the death of someone
something that causes keen distress or suffering
informal trouble or annoyancepeople were giving me grief for leaving ten minutes early
come to grief informal to end unsuccessfully or disastrously
tune someone grief See tune (def. 17)

Derived forms of grief

griefless, adjective

Word Origin for grief

C13: from Anglo-French gref, from grever to grieve 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

Medical definitions for grief

[ grēf ]

Deep mental anguish, as that arising from bereavement.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Other Idioms and Phrases with grief


see come to grief; good grief.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.