• synonyms


or grew·some

[groo-suh m]
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  1. causing great horror; horribly repugnant; grisly: the site of a gruesome murder.
  2. full of or causing problems; distressing: a gruesome day at the office.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for gruesome

terrifying, horrid, horrific, macabre, morbid, terrible, appalling, frightful, ugly, grisly, ghastly, horrendous, weird, shocking, hideous, grim, lurid, horrifying, abominable, fearful

Examples from the Web for gruesome

Contemporary Examples of gruesome

Historical Examples of gruesome

British Dictionary definitions for gruesome


  1. inspiring repugnance and horror; ghastly
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper