[ griz-lee ]
/ ˈgrɪz li /

adjective, gris·li·er, gris·li·est.

causing a shudder or feeling of horror; horrible; gruesome: a grisly murder.
formidable; grim: a grisly countenance.

Nearby words

  1. griseous,
  2. grisette,
  3. grisham,
  4. grishun,
  5. griskin,
  6. grison,
  7. grisons,
  8. grissini,
  9. grist,
  10. grist for the mill

Origin of grisly

before 1150; Middle English; Old English grislīc horrible; cognate with Old High German grīsenlīh

Related formsgris·li·ness, noun

Can be confusedgrisly gristly grizzled grizzly


[ gris-lee ]
/ ˈgrɪs li /

adjective, gris·li·er, gris·li·est. Obsolete. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for grisly

British Dictionary definitions for grisly


/ (ˈɡrɪzlɪ) /

adjective -lier or -liest

causing horror or dread; gruesome
Derived Formsgrisliness, noun

Word Origin for grisly

Old English grislic; related to Old Frisian grislik, Old High German grīsenlīh


noun plural -lies

obsolete a variant spelling of grizzly
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 grisly



Old English grislic "horrible, dreadful," from root of grisan "to shudder, fear" (cf. Old Frisian grislik "horrible," Middle Dutch grisen "to shudder," Dutch griezelen, German grausen "to shudder, fear," Old High German grisenlik "horrible"), of unknown origin; Watkins connects it with the PIE root *ghrei- "to rub," on notion of "to grate on the mind." Cf. also gruesome, to which it probably is connected in some way.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper