Definition of grunge in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ɡrənj/


1Grime; dirt.
Example sentences
  • But there must be limits to disgust as well, because you know we also need a bit of dirt and grunge in our lives to prime our immune system.
  • Besides the sheer danger of war reporting, these books give a palpable sense of the dislocation and discomfort of the job, the stench of war and the deafening noise of it, the grunge and grime of it.
  • It felt so good to wash away the grunge and grime of the previous night and I stood in the shower a bit longer than necessary, thankful that God had indeed created hot water tanks.
2 (also grunge rock) A style of rock music characterized by a raucous guitar sound and lazy vocal delivery.
Example sentences
  • But rock took a back seat in the last two decades because of the predominance of electronic music, as well as the emergence of strains like grunge rock and hip-hop, which did not appeal to mainstream Indian viewers.
  • Not everyone has been content with this story focusing, as it does, on how one 1990s set of mid-west grunge rock artists blended rock with the country music of the small town America where they lived.
  • ‘In the midst of all this,’ he writes of the era of Generation X and grunge rock, ‘satire alone could be safely, unequivocally embraced, because it acknowledged the sanctity of nothing at all.’
2.1The fashion associated with grunge rock, including loose, layered clothing and ripped jeans.
Example sentences
  • The convergence of grunge with high fashion in the 1990s was an indication of the growing tension between the style sought by wealth and mass-marketing necessity.
  • Eventually they arrived, the new vehicle of choice for whiskered hippie types who explored the trails in jeans and flannel shirts way before grunge became popular.
  • But along came Tom, with his low-cut velvet hipsters and his slinky jersey dresses, and grunge was sent scurrying off back to Seattle.


1960s (as a general term of disparagement): back-formation from grungy, perhaps suggested by grubby and dingy.

  • Before it became associated with rock music, grunge was generally used to mean ‘grime or dirt’. It was formed from grungy, a word that was coined in the 1960s, probably by blending grubby (from the state you get in when you grub (Middle English) or dig) and dingy (a M18th word of unknown origin, but perhaps related to dung). In the 1990s grunge became the term for a style of rock music in which the guitar is played raucously and the lyrics delivered in a lazy vocal style. Among well-known practitioners of grunge were Seattle-based groups such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

Words that rhyme with grunge

blunge, expunge, gunge, lunge, plunge, scunge, sponge

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: grunge

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.