Definition of grievous in English:



  • (of something bad) very severe or serious.

    ‘his death was a grievous blow’
    ‘the American fleet suffered grievous losses’
    • ‘He was told his catalogue of crimes was among the most grievous of sex offences when he was convicted yesterday at Leeds Crown Court.’
    • ‘The greatest battle of the campaign was fought on the Suvla plain on 21 August, but, despite grievous losses, the greatly reinforced Turks held their ground.’
    • ‘Fortunately, the grievous damage to the reactor did not result in any injuries or deaths, in large part because of the robust design of all of the plant's systems.’
    • ‘She said there was a danger of the public not realising how grievous were the crimes being committed.’
    • ‘But what I did not hear were specific new solutions on how to solve this grievous lack of funding for health care in the largest local system in the nation.’
    • ‘But those who survive have much more grievous wounds.’
    • ‘Thus dishonest reporting has made truth a casualty of the war, causing grievous damage to the integrity of the journalistic profession.’
    • ‘GAA President Sean Kelly described his death as a ‘massive and grievous loss to a great sporting family’.’
    • ‘Also in July last year, a similar police action turned violent and several vendors and two journalists sustained grievous bodily injuries.’
    • ‘One failed to detonate; the other inflicted grievous wounds.’
    • ‘The loss of either deputy would be a grievous blow to Quinn.’
    • ‘‘To be guilty of a major breach of the drug code is to have committed a grievous offence against sport,’ he said.’
    • ‘Give me some suggestions so I don't make the grievous error of leaving something out and then getting two dozen emails about it.’
    • ‘We've been struck a grievous blow, but it's not a mortal blow.’
    • ‘The tragic loss of this extraordinary young man will seem a heavy blow to our nation's morale, as it is surely a grievous injury to his loved ones.’
    • ‘‘This shocking incident was a terrible loss for the British Army, and struck a grievous blow to the families of the six soldiers,’ he added.’
    • ‘What a grievous loss his death is to American culture and to those of us who knew him personally, admired, and loved him.’
    • ‘In some ways, the loss of an adult breadwinner is more grievous than that of a child, when one considers the knock-on effect on families.’
    • ‘His resignation as convener, forced or not, was a grievous blow, and party officials have admitted as much.’
    • ‘But impeachment is an extreme step which must only be considered for the most grievous wrongdoing.’
    heinous, grave, deplorable, shocking, appalling, atrocious, gross, dire, outrageous, dreadful, egregious, iniquitous, nefarious, shameful, lamentable
    disastrous, calamitous
    serious, severe, grave, bad, critical, dreadful, terrible, awful
    View synonyms


Grievous ends with -ous and has two syllables: it should not be pronounced as if it ended -ious and had an extra syllable


Middle English: from Old French greveus, from grever (see grieve).