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Old French grievance, from the verb grever (to irritate; to bother; to annoy) + -ance.



grievance (plural grievances)

  1. (countable) Something which causes grief.
  2. A wrong or hardship suffered, which is the grounds of a complaint.
    • November 2 2014, Daniel Taylor, "Sergio Agüero strike wins derby for Manchester City against 10-man United,"
      Wayne Rooney spent much of the game remonstrating with Oliver about his own grievances and, in the interest of balance, there were certainly occasions when United had legitimate complaints.
    • 2006, Edwin Black, chapter 2, in Internal Combustion[1]:
      Throughout the 1500s, the populace roiled over a constellation of grievances of which the forest emerged as a key focal point. The popular late Middle Ages fictional character Robin Hood, dressed in green to symbolize the forest, dodged fines for forest offenses and stole from the rich to give to the poor. But his appeal was painfully real and embodied the struggle over wood.
  3. A complaint or annoyance.
  4. A formal complaint, especially in the context of a unionized workplace.
    • If you want the problem fixed, you'll have to file a grievance with the city.


Old French[edit]


grievance f (oblique plural grievances, nominative singular grievance, nominative plural grievances)

  1. Alternative form of grevance