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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English gruel, gruwel, greuel, growel (meal or flour made from beans, lentils, etc.), from Old French gruel (coarse meal; > French gruau), from Medieval Latin grutellum, diminutive of Medieval Latin grutum (flour; meal), from a Germanic source, likely Old English grūt (meal; grout) or perhaps Frankish *grūt; both from Proto-Germanic *grūtiz (ground material; grit). Compare Dutch gruit, Middle Low German grūt, Middle High German grūz, German Grütze (grout).[1] Related also to English groats, grit.


  • IPA(key): /ɡɹuː(ə)l/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʊəl


gruel (countable and uncountable, plural gruels)

  1. A thin, watery porridge, formerly eaten primarily by the poor and the ill.
    Coordinate terms: congee, oatmeal, porridge
  2. punishment
  3. something that lacks substance
    thin gruel
  4. (slang, US, obsolete) sentimental poetry
  5. (slang, Britain) semen
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From the noun above.


gruel (third-person singular simple present gruels, present participle gruelling or grueling, simple past and past participle gruelled or grueled)

  1. (transitive) To exhaust, use up, disable
  2. (transitive) to punish (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  3. (slang, Britain) ejaculate
Derived terms[edit]