From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From grue (to shudder) +‎ -some. Compare Danish and Norwegian grusom (horrible), German grausam (cruel), and Dutch gruwzaam (gruesome; cruel).



gruesome (comparative gruesomer or more gruesome, superlative gruesomest or most gruesome)

  1. Repellently frightful and shocking; horrific or ghastly.
    • 1889, Mark Twain [pseudonym; Samuel Langhorne Clemens], “The Battle of the Sand-belt”, in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, New York, N.Y.: Charles L. Webster & Company, →OCLC, page 560:
      True, there were the usual night-sounds of the country—the whir of night-birds, the buzzing of insects, the barking of distant dogs, the mellow lowing of far-off kine—but these didn't seem to break the stillness, they only intensified it, and added a grewsome melancholy to it into the bargain.
    • 1912 October, Edgar Rice Burroughs, “Tarzan of the Apes”, in The All-Story, New York, N.Y.: Frank A. Munsey Co., →OCLC; republished as chapter 6, in Tarzan of the Apes, New York, N.Y.: A. L. Burt Company, 1914 June, →OCLC:
      In the middle of the floor lay a skeleton, every vestige of flesh gone from the bones to which still clung the mildewed and moldered remnants of what had once been clothing. Upon the bed lay a similar gruesome thing, but smaller, while in a tiny cradle near-by was a third, a wee mite of a skeleton.
    • 2011 May 4, “Bin Laden was unarmed when shot dead”, in Al Jazeera[1]:
      Jay Carney said that the US was considering whether to release photos of bin Laden after he was killed on Sunday but that the photos were gruesome and could be inflammatory.

Alternative forms[edit]