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See more synonyms for grief on Thesaurus.com
  1. keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.
  2. a cause or occasion of keen distress or sorrow.
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  1. come to grief, to suffer disappointment, misfortune, or other trouble; fail: Their marriage came to grief after only two years.
  2. good grief, (used as an exclamation of dismay, surprise, or relief): Good grief, it's started to rain again!
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Origin of grief

1175–1225; Middle English gref, grief < Anglo-French gref; see grieve
Related formsgrief·less, adjectivegrief·less·ness, noun


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1. joy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for grief

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • And she confides her grief to the world with such charming discretion.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • What consternation and grief there would be throughout the world!

    Biography of a Slave

    Charles Thompson

  • Still there was that in them which respected the mother's grief; they tried to shield her.

  • In these hours of grief, the soul of him put out its strength.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • No wonder Bassanio exaggerates his grief and the sacrifice he would be prepared to make.

British Dictionary definitions for grief


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

Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for grief


early 13c., "hardship, suffering, pain, bodily affliction," from Old French grief "wrong, grievance, injustice, misfortune, calamity" (13c.), from grever "afflict, burden, oppress," from Latin gravare "to cause grief, make heavy," from gravis "weighty" (see grave (adj.)). Meaning "mental pain, sorrow" is from c.1300.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

grief in Medicine


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

Idioms and Phrases with grief


see come to grief; good grief.

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