Definition of grisly in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɡrɪzli/

adjective (grislier, grisliest)

Causing horror or disgust: the town was shaken by a series of grisly crimes
More example sentences
  • Jurors were spared much of the gory detail in the case, but the horrific nature of the crime and the grisly aftermath was hard to avoid.
  • The story of secrecy, scientific ethics and national security is macabre, grisly and disturbing.
  • This opening scene sets the tone for a grisly, gory and sometimes comic werewolf horror film.
gruesome, ghastly, frightful, horrid, horrifying, fearful, hideous, macabre, spine-chilling, horrible, horrendous, grim, awful, dire, dreadful, terrible, horrific;
disgusting, repulsive, repugnant, revolting, repellent, sickening, distressing, shocking, appalling, abominable, loathsome, abhorrent, odious, monstrous, unspeakable
informal sick, sick-making, gut-churning, gross
archaic disgustful, loathly


The words grisly and grizzly are quite different in meaning, though often confused. Grisly means ‘causing horror or disgust’, as in grisly crimes, whereas grizzly is chiefly used with reference to a kind of large American bear, and can also mean ‘grey or grey-haired’.



Example sentences
  • But that's the kind of story it is; there's no grisliness for the sake of grisliness - it grows out of the situation, and never dominates the movie.
  • From there, the action quickly shifts to a battlefield that is dominated by a sense of the grisliness and cruelty of war.
  • There's much grisliness on display - including a lively decapitation and some excruciating business involving a bear trap - but I wouldn't call it a satire.


Old English grislic 'terrifying', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch griezelig.

Words that rhyme with grisly

drizzly, grizzly, Sisley

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: grisly

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