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See more synonyms for grievous on Thesaurus.com
  1. causing grief or great sorrow: grievous news.
  2. flagrant; outrageous; atrocious: a grievous offense against morality.
  3. full of or expressing grief; sorrowful: a grievous cry.
  4. burdensome or oppressive.
  5. causing great pain or suffering: arrested for causing grievous bodily harm to someone in a bar.
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Origin of grievous

1250–1300; Middle English grevous < Old French grevo(u)s. See grieve, -ous
Related formsgriev·ous·ly, adverbgriev·ous·ness, nounnon·griev·ous, adjectivenon·griev·ous·ly, adverbnon·griev·ous·ness, nouno·ver·griev·ous, adjectiveo·ver·griev·ous·ly, adverbo·ver·griev·ous·ness, noun

Synonyms for grievous

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Antonyms for grievous

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

Examples from the Web for grievous

Contemporary Examples of grievous

Historical Examples of grievous

  • A grievous error it is to suppose that Cupid's artillery is limited to bow and arrows.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

  • The country was saddened, moreover, with grievous sicknesses.

    Old News

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • For three years past, this grievous calamity had been borne.

    Tanglewood Tales

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • That they did not do so was a grievous disappointment from the beginning.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

British Dictionary definitions for grievous


  1. very severe or painfula grievous injury
  2. very serious; heinousa grievous sin
  3. showing or marked by griefa grievous cry
  4. causing great pain or sufferinga grievous attack
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Derived Formsgrievously, adverbgrievousness, noun
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 grievous


c.1300, from Anglo-French grevous (Old French grevos) "heavy, hard, toilsome," from grief (see grief). Legal term grievous bodily harm attested from 1803.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper