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[gruh-vey-muh n] /grəˈveɪ mən/
noun, plural gravamina
[gruh-vam-uh-nuh] /grəˈvæm ə nə/ (Show IPA).
the part of an accusation that weighs most heavily against the accused; the substantial part of a charge or complaint.
a grievance.
Origin of gravamen
1595-1605; < Late Latin: trouble, physical inconvenience, equivalent to Latin gravā(re) to load, weigh down (derivative of gravis heavy, burdened) + -men noun suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for gravamen
  • In this case, the gravamen of plaintiff's complaint is the breach of defendants' duty of disclosure.
  • Here, the gravamen of defendants' argument is that the commissioner is required to revoke plaintiff's license.
  • The gravamen of plaintiff's claim is that defendants maligned plaintiff causing plaintiff damage.
British Dictionary definitions for gravamen


noun (pl) -vamina (-ˈvæmɪnə)
(law) that part of an accusation weighing most heavily against an accused
(law) the substance or material grounds of a complaint
a rare word for grievance
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin: trouble, from Latin gravāre to load, from gravis heavy; see grave²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for gravamen

"grievance," 1640s, from Late Latin gravamen "trouble, physical inconvenience" (in Medieval Latin, "a grievance"), from gravare "to burden, aggravate," from gravis "heavy" (see grave (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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