[grim-uh s, gri-meys]


a facial expression, often ugly or contorted, that indicates disapproval, pain, etc.

verb (used without object), grim·aced, grim·ac·ing.

to make grimaces.

Origin of grimace

1645–55; < FrenchFrankish *grima mask (cf. grime, grim) + -azo < Latin -āceus -aceous
Related formsgrim·ac·er, noungrim·ac·ing·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for grimace

Contemporary Examples of grimace

Historical Examples of grimace

  • He repeated the words with a grimace of exasperation: "My name!"

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • The baby made a grimace at him which was hideous but lovely.

    The Yates Pride

    Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

  • Only his lips moved slightly, as if he were making a grimace.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • Tubby made a grimace, and then seemed to be ashamed of his selfishness.

  • But the others made a grimace, as they banged down their irons.


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for grimace



an ugly or distorted facial expression, as of wry humour, disgust, etc


(intr) to contort the face
Derived Formsgrimacer, noungrimacingly, adverb

Word Origin for grimace

C17: from French grimace, of Germanic origin; related to Spanish grimazo caricature; see grim
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 grimace

1650s, from French grimace, from Middle French grimache, from Old French grimuce "grotesque face, ugly mug," possibly from Frankish (cf. Old Saxon grima "face mask," Old English grima "mask, helmet"), from same Germanic root as grim (adj.). With pejorative suffix -azo (from Latin -aceus).


1762, from French grimacer, from grimace (see grimace (n.)). Related: Grimaced; grimacing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper