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Syllabification: grim
Pronunciation: /ɡrim

Definition of grim in English:

adjective (grimmer, grimmest)

1Forbidding or uninviting: his grim expression long rows of grim, dark housing developments
More example sentences
  • But she could see everyone else paying close attention, their expressions slowly becoming more serious and grim.
  • She looked up to see his grim expression and immediately sobered.
  • This time, none of them were laughing; they looked grim and serious.
stern, forbidding, uninviting, unsmiling, dour, formidable, harsh, steely, flinty, stony;
cross, churlish, surly, sour, ill-tempered;
fierce, ferocious, threatening, menacing, implacable, ruthless, merciless
informal godawful
1.1(Of humor) lacking genuine levity; mirthless; black: some moments of grim humor
More example sentences
  • Most of us use grim humour to cope with life's dark side.
  • Sitting in the shade of the fig trees in Westminster's bustling Portcullis House last week, Ian Cawsey recalled with grim humour the moment when he almost died.
  • But somehow, that sort of irreverent, grim humor doesn't seem appropriate.
black, dark, mirthless, bleak, cynical
1.2Depressing or worrying to consider: the grim news of the murder
More example sentences
  • With these grim figures to consider, it is expected that Carlow would be one of the first test centres in the country to benefit from any forthcoming additional resources.
  • The alternative - settling for economic, cultural and demographic stagnation - is too grim to consider.
  • This could be grim news for millions of consumers whose life savings are invested in pensions, endowments and other savings contracts.
depressing, distressing, upsetting, worrying, unpleasant
1.3Unrelentingly harsh; merciless or severe: few creatures are able to thrive in this grim and hostile land
More example sentences
  • Rural life is shown as harsh and grim where the ablest and younger peasants sought to escape to the factories in the cities.
  • The lives of agricultural and urban workers would have been just as grim.
  • Others are angry but matter-of-fact about a lifestyle that seems unbearably grim to the outsider.


Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch grim and German grimm.


like grim death

With great determination: we had to hold on like grim death
More example sentences
  • I couldn't hear a thing - I just held on for grim death.
  • Moments later they were hanging on for grim death.
  • If you dare look outside while you are clinging on for grim death, you see the bus is a few inches from the dawdling car in front, the airhorn urging the driver to move it, or move over.



Example sentences
  • England had to hang on grimly throughout the second-half as Ireland laid siege to their territory.
  • The film showed police officers grimly interviewing young offenders in a way that was both shocking and revealing.
  • The looked at us grimly and shook their heads when i waved our tickets at them.


Example sentences
  • Russians can have a seriousness that borders on grimness.
  • Some of the elite recognised that high art could compensate for the deficits of capitalist society; beautiful paintings could make the grimness of everyday life a little easier to bear.
  • My hostel, on first encounter, had an institutional grimness defying the more immediate forms of description.

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