Definition of grunt in English:


Line breaks: grunt
Pronunciation: /grʌnt


[no object]
  • 1(Of an animal, especially a pig) make a low, short guttural sound: an enormous pig grunted and shuffled in a sty outside
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    • Simon on the other hand is in love with cuddly toys, and also anything that chimes or makes a silly noise, especially cows mooing or pigs grunting.
    • And you'll not hear a pig grunting or a hen cackling in many farmyards today.
    • The large creatures were grunting and groaning, and their large, curved tusks flashed in the moonlight.
  • 1.1(Of a person) make a low inarticulate sound, typically to express effort or indicate assent: the men cursed and grunted as they lassoed the steer [with direct speech]: ‘What is it?’ he grunted irritably [with object]: he grunted his approval and then walked back
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    • I mentally grunted and tried hard to make my steps not sound so much like stomps as I made my way to the doors.
    • But now, in the woods, he shovels so ardently he is grunting.
    • Normally she was grunting and complaining about one thing or another in her usual mocking tone.


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  • 1A low, short guttural sound made by an animal or a person: with snorts and grunts the animals were coaxed down the ramp he answered with a grunt and made no further reply
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    • If your language consists of little more than guttural grunts and cherry pie, you can't be blamed for not getting it.
    • Their vocalisations range from low guttural contact grunts to alarm barks and screams.
    • He could hear voices behind him, the low, guttural grunts of goblins or orcs.
  • 2North American informal A low-ranking soldier or unskilled worker: he went from grunt to senior executive vice president in five years
    [alteration of ground, from ground man (with reference to unskilled railway work before progressing to lineman)]
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    • It's a sad fact that money doesn't exactly leak down to the actual grunt workers.
    • On the other hand, I've been a jack-squat soldier surrounded by grunts more times than you could imagine.
    • An infantryman who can't handle the stress of combat is liable to get himself, and some of his fellow grunts, killed in combat.
  • 3 [mass noun] British informal Mechanical power, especially in a motor vehicle: what the big wagon needs is grunt, and the turbo does the business
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    • Possibly another reason was that US drivers don't like to change down so much and prefer mid-range grunt to a lower gear.
    • The three classes have varying degrees of grunt and power and a new points scoring system will be in force to help decide one champion for each of the three classes.
    • There is real grunt in every gear and sending the revs soaring towards the red line before snatching the next ratio is to indulge in an act of pure ecstasy.
  • 4An edible shoaling fish of tropical coasts and coral reefs, able to make a loud noise by grinding its teeth and amplifying the sound in the swim bladder.
    • Family Pomadasyidae: numerous genera and species
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    • There were plenty of fish: blue-striped grunts, moray eels, butterflyfish, bright yellow trumpetfish and multi-coloured wrasse.
    • It is nonetheless a beautiful shallow reef with huge areas of elk and staghorn coral sheltering shoals of grunt, snapper and goatfish.
    • Golden eye or yellowtail grunts, chubs or scads would move unhurriedly across, changing direction with uncanny synchronisation.


Old English grunnettan, of Germanic origin and related to German grunzen; probably originally imitative.

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