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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English grevous, from Anglo-Norman grevous, from Old French grever, from Latin gravō (I burden). Developed in the 13th century. Equivalent to grief +‎ -ous.


  • IPA(key): /ɡɹiː.vəs/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːvəs
  • (nonstandard outside dialects) IPA(key): /ɡɹiː.viː.əs/ (often used in conjunction with the spelling grievious)


grievous (comparative more grievous, superlative most grievous)

  1. Causing grief, pain, or sorrow.
    • 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], “Age and Youth”, in Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. [], volume I, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, page 14:
      No wonder that the old man's eye dwelt upon her with mingled pride and tenderness; yet was it a face that might cause affection many an anxious hour, for there was mind in the lofty and clear forehead, heart in the warm and flushed cheek,—and what are mind and heart to woman, but fairy gifts, for whose possession a grievous price will be exacted.
    • 1943 May and June, “Notes and News: Centenary of Railway to Colchester”, in Railway Magazine, page 176:
      Heavy rain had so undermined the approach to the bridge at Mountnessing as to make it unsafe, and although Chelmsford and Colchester had decked themselves with flags and bunting, the train returned to London "with grievous disappointment to all."
  2. Serious, grave, dire, or dangerous.


Derived terms[edit]