Definition of gripe in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ɡrīp/


1 [reporting verb] informal Express a complaint or grumble about something, especially something trivial: [no object]: they gripe about the busywork [with direct speech]: “Holidays make no difference to Simon,” Pat griped
More example sentences
  • For weeks I griped and complained about the fact that my boxes hadn't arrived from England yet.
  • We chunter through each day, grumbling, griping and groaning.
  • They will grumble, they will gripe, they will moan about waiting lists and rotten food.
complain, grumble, grouse, protest, whine, bleat
informal moan, bellyache, beef, bitch, kvetch
British  whinge, kvetch
2 [with object] Affect with gastric or intestinal pain: it gripes my belly like a green apple (as adjective griping) then the griping pains started
More example sentences
  • Nowadays an infusion of coriander is recommended for relieving flatulence, bloating and griping pains, as well as for suppressing the lingering smell of garlic.
  • It started to gripe my stomach too.
  • Sometimes the griping pain was so severe that she screamed and tossed in the bed.
3 [with object] archaic Grasp tightly; clutch: Hilyard griped his dagger
4 [with object] Nautical Secure (a boat) with gripes.
Example sentences
  • The boat must be fully griped in at the davits and the harbour stop pins must be out.
5 [no object] Sailing (Of a ship) turn to face the wind in spite of the helm.
Example sentences
  • I had occasion to observe the vessel griped to windward considerably.


1 informal A complaint, especially a trivial one: his biggest gripe is that he has lost his sense of privacy
More example sentences
  • These are all relatively minor gripes, admittedly.
  • Our minor gripes were far out-weighed by some superb service and good quality food.
  • Though it seemed a legitimate gripe, complaining did no good.
complaint, grumble, grouse, grievance, objection;
cavil, quibble, niggle
informal moan, beef, kvetch
British  whinge
2 (usually gripes) Gastric or intestinal pain; colic.
Example sentences
  • Plenty of time for late night blogging while coping with teething, chronic gripe and insomnia from 4am feeds.
  • Andres was suffering from gripe and sinus problems for a couple weeks.
  • When I brought him home he slept and then he started to cry loudly and I thought he had gripe.
3 archaic An act of grasping tightly.
Example sentences
  • Do we know that there is a possibility, on any terms, of unclasping the firm gripe of this little Hand, which was laid upon me before I came into the world?
  • Holding me with a strong gripe by the cord that tied my hands, he with many oaths threatened to kill me immediately if I would not be quiet.
4 (gripes) Nautical Lashings securing a boat in its place on deck or in davits.
Example sentences
  • The whole operation is performed by one man only in the boat, who, by simply paying off a rope, unlashes and frees the boat from the ship's gripes.
  • As soon as we lowered the starboard action boat to the next deck the gripes of the boat caught and we had to cut them with an axe.



Example sentences
  • But that's not what the gripers are really complaining about.
  • You can silence the gripers, but they'll come back later and undermine the effort.
  • Next to the defeated politician, the writer is the most vocal and inventive griper on earth.


Old English grīpan 'grasp, clutch', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch grijpen, German greifen 'seize', also to grip and grope. sense 2 of the verb dates from the 17th century; sense 1 of the verb, of US origin, dates from the 1930s.

Words that rhyme with gripe

hype, mistype, pipe, ripe, sipe, skype, slype, snipe, stripe, swipe, tripe, type, wipe

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: gripe

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.