dirt, soot, or other filthy matter, especially adhering to or embedded in a surface.
a style of music influenced by rap, ragga, etc., and characterized by lyrics and imagery that reference the dark side of urban life.

verb (used with object), grimed, grim·ing.

to cover with dirt; make very dirty; soil.

Origin of grime

1250–1300; Middle English grim; apparently special use of Old English grīma ‘mask’, to denote layer of dust; compare dialectal Dutch grijm
Related formsun·grimed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for grime

dust, muck, filth, soot, crud, tarnish, soil, smut, smudge, film, gunk, gook

Examples from the Web for grime

Contemporary Examples of grime

Historical Examples of grime

  • The grime was perpetually renewed; scrubbing only ground it in.

    Alice Adams

    Booth Tarkington

  • Winford, foul with grime and his clothing torn to rags, stood there.

    The Space Rover

    Edwin K. Sloat

  • It was like beholding a dainty flower in the grime and brutality of the branding pen.

    Hidden Water

    Dane Coolidge

  • It is just a sordid affair of mud, shell-holes, corpses, grime and filth.

  • A single diamond glittered from the dirt and grime that soiled her finger.

    The Harbor of Doubt

    Frank Williams

British Dictionary definitions for grime



dirt, soot, or filth, esp when thickly accumulated or ingrained
a genre of music originating in the East End of London and combining elements of garage, hip-hop, rap, and jungle


(tr) to make dirty or coat with filth
Derived Formsgrimy, adjectivegriminess, noun

Word Origin for grime

C15: from Middle Dutch grime; compare Flemish grijm, Old English grīma mask
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 grime

1580s, of uncertain origin, probably alteration of Middle English grim "dirt, filth" (early 14c.), from Middle Low German greme "dirt," from Proto-Germanic *grim- "to smear" (cf. Flemish grijm, Middle Dutch grime "soot, mask"), from PIE root *ghrei- "to rub." The verb was Middle English grymen (mid-15c.) but was replaced early 16c. by begrime.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper