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verb (used without object), griped, grip·ing.
  1. Informal. to complain naggingly or constantly; grumble.
  2. to suffer pain in the bowels.
  3. Nautical. (of a sailing vessel) to tend to come into the wind; to be ardent.
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verb (used with object), griped, grip·ing.
  1. to seize and hold firmly; grip; grasp; clutch.
  2. to produce pain in (the bowels) as if by constriction.
  3. to distress or oppress.
  4. to annoy or irritate: His tone of voice gripes me.
  5. to grasp or clutch, as a miser.
  6. Nautical. to secure (a lifeboat) to a deck or against a pudding boom on davits.
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  1. the act of gripping, grasping, or clutching.
  2. Informal. a nagging complaint.
  3. a firm hold; clutch.
  4. a grasp; hold; control.
  5. something that grips or clutches; a claw or grip.
  6. Nautical.
    1. a lashing or chain by which a boat is secured to a deck or in position on davits.
    2. Also called gripe piece.a curved timber connecting the stem or cutwater of a wooden hull with the keel.
    3. the exterior angle or curve formed by this piece; forefoot.
    4. the forward end of the dished keel of a metal hull.
  7. a handle, hilt, etc.
  8. Usually gripes. Pathology. an intermittent spasmodic pain in the bowels.
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Origin of gripe

1350–1400; Middle English gripen, Old English grīpan; cognate with Dutch grijpen, German griefen; see grip, grope
Related formsgrip·er, noungripe·ful, adjectivegrip·ing·ly, adverb
Can be confusedgrip gripe grippe


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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for gripe

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • That same world is a tough wrestler, and has a bear's gripe.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • He struggled furiously, but could not force my gripe from his throat.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • He seized her hands, and, with one gripe of his, made hers fly open.


    Harriet Martineau

  • You haven't heard me gripe about having to go to the store, have you?

    Jerry's Charge Account

    Hazel Hutchins Wilson

  • To gripe the tall town-steeple by the waste,And scoop it out to be his drinking-horn.

British Dictionary definitions for gripe


  1. (intr) informal to complain, esp in a persistent nagging manner
  2. to cause sudden intense pain in the intestines of (a person) or (of a person) to experience this pain
  3. (intr) nautical (of a ship) to tend to come up into the wind in spite of the helm
  4. archaic to clutch; grasp
  5. (tr) archaic to afflict
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  1. (usually plural) a sudden intense pain in the intestines; colic
  2. informal a complaint or grievance
  3. rare
    1. the act of gripping
    2. a firm grip
    3. a device that grips
  4. (in plural) nautical the lashings that secure a boat
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Derived Formsgriper, noungripingly, adverb

Word Origin

Old English grīpan; related to Gothic greipan, Old High German grīfan to seize, Lithuanian greibiu
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 gripe


Old English gripan "grasp at, lay hold, attack, take, seek to get hold of," from Proto-Germanic *gripanan (cf. Old Saxon gripan, Old Norse gripa, Dutch grijpen, Gothic greipan, Old High German grifan, German greifen "to seize"), from PIE root *ghreib- "to grip" (cf. Lithuanian griebiu "to seize"). Figurative sense of "complain, grouse" is first attested 1932, probably from earlier meaning "gripping pain in the bowels" (c.1600; cf. bellyache). Related: Griped; griping.

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late 14c., from gripe (v.). Figurative sense by 1934.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

gripe in Medicine


  1. To have sharp pains in the bowels.
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  1. gripes Sharp, spasmodic pains in the bowels.
  2. A firm hold; a grasp.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.