[muh-kah-bruh, -kahb, -kah-ber]
gruesome and horrifying; ghastly; horrible.
of, pertaining to, dealing with, or representing death, especially its grimmer or uglier aspect.
of or suggestive of the allegorical dance of death.
Also, macaber.

1400–50; < French; compare late Middle English Macabrees daunce < Middle French danse (de) Macabré, of uncertain origin; perhaps to be identified with Medieval Latin chorēa Machabaeōrum a representation of the deaths of Judas Maccabaeus and his brothers, but evidence is lacking; the French pronunciation with mute e is a misreading of the Middle French forms Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
macabre (məˈkɑːbə, -brə)
1.  gruesome; ghastly; grim
2.  resembling or associated with the danse macabre
[C15: from Old French danse macabre dance of death, probably from macabé relating to the Maccabees, who were associated with death because of the doctrines and prayers for the dead in II Macc. (12:43--46)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

c.1430, from O.Fr. (danse) Macabré "(dance) of Death" (1376), probably a translation of M.L. (Chorea) Machabæorum, lit. "dance of the Maccabees" (leaders of the Jewish revolt against Syro-Hellenes, see Maccabees). The association with the dance of death seems
to be via vivid descriptions of the martyrdom of the Maccabees in the Apocryphal books. The abstracted sense of "gruesome" is first attested 1842 in Fr., 1889 in Eng.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
At the crime scene pages of instructions spelled out a macabre scavenger hunt.
As a drawing card, it is somewhat macabre.
On learning its function, it suddenly looks macabre.
While the ensuing events are often lyrical, more frequently they're macabre.
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