Definition of grief in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɡrēf/


1Deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone’s death: she was overcome with grief
More example sentences
  • She was well known and respected in the area and her death has caused much grief and sorrow.
  • Sarah wrote her book on coping with grief after the death of her daughter.
  • Mr Lewis had owned a second-hand shop in Victoria Road, but in his grief after Terry's death he turned to drink.
sorrow, misery, sadness, anguish, pain, distress, heartache, heartbreak, agony, torment, affliction, suffering, woe, desolation, dejection, despair;
mourning, mournfulness, bereavement, lamentation
literary dolor, dole
1.1 informal Trouble or annoyance: we were too tired to cause any grief
More example sentences
  • I am getting constant grief from them about returning to Pattaya for this event.
  • We've got a bye this weekend, which means I've got a chance to sort out a back problem that has been giving me a bit of grief in recent matches.
  • It particularly bothers me that they give me even more grief than normal simply if I'm dressed in a tie.
trouble, annoyance, bother, irritation, vexation, harassment
informal aggravation, hassle



come to grief

Have an accident; meet with disaster: many a ship has come to grief along this shore
More example sentences
  • Some car or truck has already come to grief at the roundabout and the trace of that accident is still clearly visible.
  • Many ships have come to grief on the Farne Islands, a few miles off the Northumberland coast.
  • Credit experts warned that dozens of families were already coming to grief in the ‘buy now, pay later’ culture.

give someone grief

informal Criticize or make trouble for someone: he gave me grief about typos
More example sentences
  • No one can give them grief for selling out because they haven't changed an item of their manifesto in seven years.
  • This Mum has just told her daughter that she can rely on her for support regardless of what happens in the future and the father is giving her grief over it!
  • The project manager gave me grief over the fact that my designs were "too detailed".

good grief!

An exclamation of irritation, frustration, or surprise.
Example sentences
  • Nina? Good grief! You gave me a scare!
  • Good grief, Nat, where on earth have you been? You look like you got dragged through a hedge backwards and then thrown back through it again!
  • Good grief - the man really must be as high as a kite.


Middle English: from Old French grief, from grever 'to burden' (see grieve1).

Words that rhyme with grief

aperitif, beef, belief, brief, chief, enfeoff, fief, interleaf, leaf, Leif, lief, Mazar-e-Sharif, misbelief, motif, naif, O'Keeffe, reef, seif, Sharif, sheaf, shereef, sportif, Tenerife, thief

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: grief

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