Word of the Day


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1. grim news, situations, or events are unpleasant and make you feel upset and worried
2. a grim place is ugly and unpleasant
3. very serious and unfriendly
a. angry and pleased about something at the same time
b. very determined to do something
4. not very enjoyable, usually because it is of bad quality

Origin and usage

The word grim comes from the Proto-Indo-European root ‘ghrem-‘ meaning ‘angry’. Over time, the word was adapted into the Proto-Germanic ‘grimmaz’ meaning ‘fierce, savage, painful’. Grim was first recorded in English sometime in the late 12th century.


The word grim refers to something that is unpleasant or unenjoyable. If grim were a colour, it would be grey. If grim were a kind of weather, it would be rain and fog. If grim were a person, that person would be sad or serious all the time. A grim situation is one that seems hopeless, with no easy or obvious way to improve it.

Some circumstances that are often described as grim, with little or no hope for recovery or improvement, include:
• The aftermath of natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes
• A very serious injury or illness
• A failing business or industry
• Endangered or declining wild animal populations
• A widespread public health crisis like a disease outbreak or epidemic
• The breakdown of important or strategic personal or public relationships

These grim situations all present uncertainty and unpleasantness for the people who face them, and it can be hard to see how the troubles will be resolved.


“Some golfers, we are told, enjoy the landscape; but properly, the landscape shrivels and compresses into the grim, surrealistically vivid patch of grass directly under the golfer’s eyes as he morosely walks toward where he thinks his ball might be.”
(John Updike)
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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