Definition of grievance in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈɡrēvəns/


1A real or imagined wrong or other cause for complaint or protest, especially unfair treatment: failure to redress genuine grievances
More example sentences
  • But airing those grievances publicly might actually encourage more attacks and make their lives harder.
  • Briony Norris, an environmental health officer at the pollution control unit, said around 50 per cent of people who lodged complaints had a genuine grievance.
  • Earlier this month, he was given the perfect opportunity to air his grievances in public when he appeared before magistrates in Guildford, charged with the same offence.
injustice, wrong, injury, ill, unfairness;
affront, insult, indignity
1.1An official statement of a complaint over something believed to be wrong or unfair: three pilots have filed grievances against the company
More example sentences
  • Mr. Yousry states that he did not at that time understand himself to have been suspended, and thus he did not approach his union concerning his status, nor did he file any grievance about it.
  • Prior to making these public allegations, no student actually filed a sexual harassment grievance against him.
  • Engle says that when she filed a grievance, DWP managers denied her overtime pay, hassled her about the dress code and intimidated her by hovering around her workstation.
1.2A feeling of resentment over something believed to be wrong or unfair: he was nursing a grievance
More example sentences
  • Unfortunately, though, humans have a tendency to bear grudges and nurse grievances, even when the reasons for doing so are irrational.
  • He does not generally harbour grievances or grudges and it is rare for him to finish a regatta with lingering feelings of resentment towards a rival competitor.
  • A feeling of grievance can be real even when the grievance itself is not.
complaint, criticism, objection, grumble, grouse;
ill feeling, bad feeling, resentment, bitterness, pique
informal gripe
British  whinge, moan, grouch, niggle, beef, bone to pick


Middle English (also in the sense 'injury'): from Old French grevance, from grever 'to burden' (see grieve1).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: griev·ance

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.