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A variant of grutch (mid 15th-century, younger than begrudge), from Middle English grucchen (to murmur, complain, feel envy, begrudge), from Old French grouchier, groucier (to murmur, grumble)[1], of Germanic origin, probably ultimately imitative.

Akin to Middle High German grogezen (to howl, wail), German grocken (to croak). Compare also Old Norse krytja (to murmur), Old High German grunzen (to grunt).


  • IPA(key): /ɡɹʌd͡ʒ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌdʒ


grudge (plural grudges)

  1. (countable) Deep-seated and/or long-term animosity or ill will about something or someone, especially due to perceived mistreatment.
    to have, hold, or bear a grudge against someone
    • 1607, Barnabe Barnes, THE DIVILS CHARTER: A TRAGÆDIE Conteining the Life and Death of Pope Alexander the ſixt, ACTVS. 5, SCÆ. 1:
      Bag. And if I do not my good Lord damme me for it
      I haue an old grudge at him cole black curre,
      He ſhall haue two ſteele bullets ſtrongly charg’d
    • 1876–1877, Henry James, Jr., chapter XXII, in The American, Boston, Mass.: James R[ipley] Osgood and Company, [], published 5 May 1877, →OCLC, page 389:
      I have never mentioned it to a human creature; I have kept my grudge to myself. I daresay I have been wicked, but my grudge has grown old with me.
    • 1913, H[enry] Rider Haggard, chapter XV, in Child of Storm[1]:
      It is towards Saduko that he bears a grudge, for you know, my father, one should never pull a drowning man out of the stream — which is what Saduko did, for had it not been for his treachery, Cetewayo would have sunk beneath the water of Death — especially if it is only to spite a woman who hates him.


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grudge (third-person singular simple present grudges, present participle grudging, simple past and past participle grudged)

  1. To be unwilling to give or allow (someone something). [from 16th c.]
    • 1608, Henrie Gosson, The Woefull and Lamentable wast and spoile done by a suddaine Fire in S. Edmonds-bury in Suffolke, on Munday the tenth of Aprill. 1608., reprinted by F. Pawsey, Old Butter Market, Ipswich, 1845, page 6:
      Wee shall finde our whole life so necessarily ioyned with sorrow, that we ought rather delight (and take pleasure) in Gods louing chastisements, and admonitions, then any way murmure and grudge at our crosses, or tribulations :
    • 1841, Edmund Burke, The Annual Register, Rivingtons, page 430:
      If we of the central land were to grudge you what is beneficial, and not to compassionate your wants, then wherewithal could you foreigners manage to exist?
    • 1869, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment[2], Fields, Osgood, & Co., page 62:
      Of course, his interest in the war and in the regiment was unbounded; he did not take to drill with especial readiness, but he was insatiable of it, and grudged every moment of relaxation.
    • 1922 February, James Joyce, “Episode 12: The Cyclops”, in Ulysses, Paris: Shakespeare and Company, [], →OCLC:
      Our two inimitable drolls did a roaring trade with their broadsheets among lovers of the comedy element and nobody who has a corner in his heart for real Irish fun without vulgarity will grudge them their hardearned pennies.
    • 1953, Saul Bellow, chapter 3, in The Adventures of Augie March, New York: Viking Press, →OCLC:
      I've never seen such people for borrowing and lending; there was dough changing hands in all directions, and nobody grudged anyone.
  2. (obsolete) To grumble, complain; to be dissatisfied. [15th–18th c.]
  3. (obsolete) To hold or harbour with malicious disposition or purpose; to cherish enviously.

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  1. ^ grudge in An American Dictionary of the English Language, by Noah Webster, 1828.