[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

Related Words for grimacing

sneer, smirk, frown, contort, scowl, mug, mouth, deform, distort, misshape

Examples from the Web for grimacing

Historical Examples of grimacing

  • Her eyes, in the centre of her flabby and grimacing face, were of celestial beauty.

    Therese Raquin

    Emile Zola

  • The result was the same: Camille, grimacing and in pain, appeared ceaselessly.

    Therese Raquin

    Emile Zola

  • Daniel, in the background, was grimacing and shaking his head.

    Cap'n Dan's Daughter

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Lieutenant Tibbetts stumbled to his feet glaring and grimacing wildly.


    Edgar Wallace

  • Why, but what, he reflected, grimacing—what if he had too hastily married somebody else?

British Dictionary definitions for grimacing



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 grimacing



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