• synonyms


[grim-uh s, gri-meys]
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  1. a facial expression, often ugly or contorted, that indicates disapproval, pain, etc.
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verb (used without object), grim·aced, grim·ac·ing.
  1. to make grimaces.
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Origin of grimace

1645–55; < FrenchFrankish *grima mask (cf. grime, grim) + -azo < Latin -āceus -aceous
Related formsgrim·ac·er, noungrim·ac·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for grimace

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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.

  • He seemed to be making comparisons in his mind as his lips formed a grimace.


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for grimace


  1. an ugly or distorted facial expression, as of wry humour, disgust, etc
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  1. (intr) to contort the face
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Derived Formsgrimacer, noungrimacingly, adverb

Word Origin

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).

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper