or grew·some

[groo-suh m]


causing great horror; horribly repugnant; grisly: the site of a gruesome murder.
full of or causing problems; distressing: a gruesome day at the office.

Origin of gruesome

1560–70; obsolete grue to shudder (cognate with German grauen, Dutch gruwen) + -some1
Related formsgrue·some·ly, adverbgrue·some·ness, nounun·grue·some, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Contemporary Examples of gruesome

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British Dictionary definitions for gruesome



inspiring repugnance and horror; ghastly
Derived Formsgruesomely, adverbgruesomeness, noun

Word Origin for gruesome

C16: originally Northern English and Scottish; see grue, -some 1
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 gruesome

1560s, with -some (1) + Middle English gruen "feel horror, shudder" (c.1300); not recorded in Old English or Norse, possibly from Middle Dutch gruwen or Middle Low German gruwen "shudder with fear" (cf. German grausam "cruel"), or from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish grusom "cruel," grue "to dread," though others hold that these are Low German loan-words). One of the many Scottish words popularized in England by Scott's novels.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper