verb (used without object)
  1. to utter the deep, guttural sound characteristic of a hog.
  2. to utter a similar sound.
  3. to grumble, as in discontent.
verb (used with object)
  1. to express with a grunt.
  1. a sound of grunting.
  2. New England Cookery. a dessert, typically of cherries, peaches, or apples sweetened and spiced, and topped with biscuit dough.
  3. any food fish of the family Pomadasyidae (Haemulidae), found chiefly in tropical and subtropical seas, that emits grunting sounds.
  4. Slang. a soldier, especially an infantryman.
  5. Slang. a common or unskilled worker; laborer.

Origin of grunt

before 900; Middle English grunten, Old English grunnettan, frequentative of grunian to grunt; cognate with German grunzen, Latin grunnīre
Related formsgrunt·ing·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for grunting

groan, squeak, squawk, cry

Examples from the Web for grunting

Contemporary Examples of grunting

Historical Examples of grunting

  • He shook his head, grunting, "Na—I don't know naught about t' shoals."

  • Calendar waddled to the brink of the stage, grunting with relief.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • I led off, and then in he came hitting with both hands, and grunting like a pig at every blow.

  • He was staggering and grunting under the weight of a heavy metal box.

    Loot of the Void

    Edwin K. Sloat

  • He had that trick of grunting so between his words and at the end of sentences.

British Dictionary definitions for grunting


  1. (intr) (esp of pigs and some other animals) to emit a low short gruff noise
  2. (when tr, may take a clause as object) to express something grufflyhe grunted his answer
  1. the characteristic low short gruff noise of pigs, etc, or a similar sound, as of disgust
  2. any of various mainly tropical marine sciaenid fishes, such as Haemulon macrostomum (Spanish grunt), that utter a grunting sound when caught
  3. US slang an infantry soldier or US Marine, esp in the Vietnam War
Derived Formsgruntingly, adverb

Word Origin for grunt

Old English grunnettan, probably of imitative origin; compare Old High German grunnizōn, grunni moaning, Latin grunnīre
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 grunting



Old English grunnettan "to grunt," frequentative of grunian "to grunt," probably imitative (cf. Danish grynte, Old High German grunnizon, German grunzen "to grunt," Latin grunnire "to grunt"). Related: Grunted; grunting.



1550s, from grunt (v.); as a type of fish, from 1713; meaning "infantry soldier" emerged in U.S. military slang during Vietnam War (first recorded in print 1969); used since 1900 of various low-level workers. Grunt work first recorded 1977.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper