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[groo-suh m] /ˈgru səm/
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 forms
gruesomely, adverb
gruesomeness, noun
ungruesome, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for gruesome
  • The injury was one of the most gruesome in recent memory.
  • It is a gripping story from beginning to gruesome end, filled with drama, intrigue and love affairs.
  • That gory swamp is a gruesome grove.
  • Yet in between gruesome scenes lie passages of calm, reflective beauty: Wrath and love burn only like the campfires.
  • The images are gruesome, yet grainy and amateurish.
  • Avoiding gruesome odors is a first line of defense against phantosmia.
  • It was a gruesome experience.
  • The scenes of carnage were particularly gruesome.
  • But it doesn't make this any less gruesome of course.
  • When you encounter folks who are so poverty-stricken, it's a gruesome option for them but it is an option.
British Dictionary definitions for gruesome


inspiring repugnance and horror; ghastly
Derived Forms
gruesomely, adverb
gruesomeness, noun
Word Origin
C16: originally Northern English and Scottish; see grue, -some1
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
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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
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