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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English grevous, from Middle English greven, from Old French grever, from Latin gravō (I burden). Developed in the 13th century.


  • 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, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Ethel Churchill, volume 1, 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.
    • 1883, Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
      As for the captain, his wounds were grievous indeed but not dangerous.
  2. Serious, grave, dire or dangerous.