Definition of gruesome in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɡro͞osəm/


1Causing repulsion or horror; grisly: a most gruesome murder
More example sentences
  • To anyone who thinks of an abattoir as a place of gruesome horrors, this might sound like good news.
  • The gruesome murder shocked and revolted the nation, igniting a debate on the killers' future.
  • Why such gruesome murders are happening again and again is really a thought-provoking question.
1.1 informal Extremely unpleasant: gruesome working hours
More example sentences
  • It is because the daily reports are too harrowing, the gruesome repetition too terrible.
  • The manner of his sacking was gruesome enough - a clean sacking turned into a protracted public humiliation for both men.
  • Many troops now feel that they will never see the civilian life they once saw at the end of a long, gruesome road.



Pronunciation: /ˈɡro͞osəmlē/
Example sentences
  • And while there are demonstrations of expertise with the sword, it is the precision of the fighter and how economical and speedy his movements are, rather than how many people he kills or how gruesomely that matters.
  • In 1906, six years before Greyfriars Bobby was written, the novelist Upton Sinclair had published The Jungle, his gruesomely frank depiction of Chicago's meat-packing industry.
  • While there, he experiences a multitude of psychedelic wonders and witnesses, one by one, his incorrigibly bratty fellow winners dispatched in gruesomely appropriate ways.


Example sentences
  • And probably the biggest challenge of the Fulton D.A. is going to be to try to solve that mystery swiftly for the jury and make sure that no one forgets about the gruesomeness of the crime.
  • But I think there was a sense that the execution as it unfolded, the actual beheading, reached a level of violence and gruesomeness that was not appropriate to put in the paper.
  • One pleasant surprise, given the gruesomeness of the murders, is that the first two-thirds of the novel are relatively non-violent.


Late 16th century: from Scots grue 'to feel horror, shudder' (of Scandinavian origin) + -some1. Rare before the late 18th century, the word was popularized by Sir Walter Scott.

  • Although gruesome first appeared in English in the late 16th century, based on Scots grue ‘to feel horror, shudder’, it was rare before the late 18th century. It was popularized in the novels of Sir Walter Scott: ‘He's as grave and grewsome an auld Dutchman as e'er I saw’ (Old Mortality, 1816). Grewsome was the more common spelling until around 1850.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: grue·some

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