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Origin of grudge

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English grudgen, gruggen, variant of gruchen, from Old French gro(u)c(h)ier, from Germanic; compare Middle High German grogezen “to complain, cry out”

synonym study for grudge

1. Grudge, malice, spite refer to ill will held against another or others. A grudge is a feeling of resentment harbored because of some real or fancied wrong: to hold a grudge because of jealousy; She has a grudge against him. Malice is the state of mind that delights in doing harm, or seeing harm done, to others, whether expressing itself in an attempt seriously to injure or merely in sardonic humor: malice in watching someone's embarrassment; to tell lies about someone out of malice. Spite is petty, and often sudden, resentment that manifests itself usually in trifling retaliations: to reveal a secret out of spite.


grudgeless, adjectivegrudger, nounun·grudged, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does grudge mean?

A grudge is a feeling of anger, bitterness, or resentment toward someone for something they did, especially a wrong that you think they committed against you.

The word grudge is typically used to refer to such a feeling when it has been held for a long period of time—often longer than is considered normal.

For that reason, grudge is often used in phrases like hold a grudge, nurse a grudge, bear a grudge, and harbor a grudge. 

Grudges are usually directed toward people, but a person can hold a grudge against a group or an entity like a company or organization. The word grudge is often followed by the word against and whom or what the grudge is directed toward, as in Your father still holds a grudge against that pizzeria for getting his order wrong that one time. 

A grudge match is a competition, such as a boxing match, between opponents who have (or are depicted as having) some specific, personal reason for being bitter rivals.

Less commonly, grudge can be used as a verb meaning to resent or envy someone else’s good fortune, as in Don’t grudge them for their success. The related verb begrudge can be used to mean the same thing. Grudge can also mean to give or allow with reluctance or unwillingness, as in My company has grudged me every raise I have requested. The verb begrudge doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as this sense of grudge. Specifically, begrudge often means to be reluctant to give or allow—as opposed to meaning to give or allow reluctantly.

Example: She has held a grudge against me ever since I beat her in the spelling bee in fifth grade.

Where does grudge come from?

The first records of the word grudge come from the 1400s. It comes from the Old French grouchier, which means “to grumble” and is also the basis of the word grouch. Grudge is probably related to the Middle High German word grogezen, meaning “to complain, cry out.”

When a person holds a grudge, it’s often due to treatment or an action that’s considered unforgivable by the person holding the grudge. Usually this involves a personal slight (or perceived personal slight), but a person can hold a grudge against someone they don’t even know. A lot of grudges are held for petty reasons, including things that the supposed wrongdoer doesn’t even know that they did. The opposite of holding a grudge can be thought of as forgiving and forgetting (or letting it go).

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What are some other forms related to grudge?

  • grudging (continuous tense verb, adjective)
  • grudgingly (adverb)

What are some words that share a root or word element with grudge

What are some words that often get used in discussing grudge?


How is grudge used in real life?

Grudge is most commonly used as a noun. People hold grudges for all kinds of reasons.


Try using grudge!

Is grudge used correctly in the following sentence?

Instead of grudging their win, you could try congratulating them and moving on.

How to use grudge in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for grudge

/ (ɡrʌdʒ) /

a persistent feeling of resentment, esp one due to some cause, such as an insult or injury
(modifier) planned or carried out in order to settle a grudgea grudge fight
(tr) to give or allow unwillingly
to feel resentful or envious about (someone else's success, possessions, etc)

Derived forms of grudge

grudgeless, adjectivegrudger, noungrudging, adjectivegrudgingly, adverb

Word Origin for grudge

C15: from Old French grouchier to grumble, probably of Germanic origin; compare Old High German grunnizōn to grunt
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with grudge


see bear a grudge; nurse a grudge.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.