Definition of grimace in English:


Pronunciation /ɡrɪˈmeɪs//ˈɡrɪməs/


  • An ugly, twisted expression on a person's face, typically expressing disgust, pain, or wry amusement.

    ‘she gave a grimace of pain’
    • ‘Ian listened for a few seconds, his bland smile twisting slowly into an exaggerated grimace.’
    • ‘A sharp pain scored the back of his throat, and he swallowed with a small grimace.’
    • ‘He quickly wiped his finger onto his black apron with a grimace and leaned on the counter, smiling sweetly to her.’
    • ‘I felt my lips tighten in a rictus that was closer to a grimace than a smile.’
    • ‘Adam's mouth was twisted into something between a smile and a grimace of pain.’
    • ‘Number one rule; never smile at your opponent (s); scowls and grimaces are the order of the day.’
    • ‘There was a brief moment where he could not hide his wince, his small grimace of pain.’
    • ‘Her stiff expression broke into a smile that seemed more like a grimace to Shamus.’
    • ‘Regan attempted a smirk, but had to settle for a grimace when the effort made his face flare in pain again.’
    • ‘His face twisting into a grimace, he managed to bring his legs onto the bed and Francesca covered him with the blankets.’
    • ‘Lisa tried to smile at his worried expression, but it came out as a grimace.’
    • ‘The black-haired one scowls, pulling her face into an ugly grimace.’
    • ‘He met my gaze, and his lips curled back in a grimace more sneer than snarl.’
    • ‘There was a slight grimace upon his face but the grimace wasn't that of physical pain.’
    • ‘Stoic and economical in his movements, expressing emotional pain through tight-lipped grimaces and squinty eyes, Mortenson is the perfect cowboy hero.’
    • ‘Ty had already grunted and sunk down, clutching at the arrow in her shoulder with a grimace of pain.’
    • ‘It is January in the Middle West and people are sliding across the iced campus walkways, their faces freezing into grimaces whenever a stiff wind gusts off the river.’
    • ‘Her father's thin lips twisted into a grimace of such severity that they all but vanished from existence.’
    • ‘There was some mild pain but, other than a few grimaces which her audience didn't see because she was in constant action and far enough away, she managed to stifle most of it.’
    • ‘On the other hand, I've had patients hobble in with a grimace and tell me their pain level is a two.’
    scowl, frown, sneer, pout, moue, wince, distorted expression
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  • Make a grimace.

    ‘I sipped the coffee and grimaced’
    • ‘I grimaced and suppressed an urge to wring my hands.’
    • ‘Then he caught a look at himself in the mirror, with the angry scowl on his face, and grimaced.’
    • ‘I grimaced at the pain in my side and forced myself to speed up.’
    • ‘She took a sip of the brownish liquid in her can, grimacing slightly.’
    • ‘She watched, hand poised at his back, as Emery grimaced and tried to sit up.’
    • ‘Morgan beamed and reached for his coffee, grimacing as he took a small sip.’
    • ‘As she grimaced and grunted her way through to her third Wimbledon title, she got a little lucky.’
    • ‘He struck it well, but grimaced as he watched it drift outside the near post.’
    • ‘She stopped by for a bit and during her discussion with Suzie, she grimaced and grabbed her forehead.’
    • ‘After a moment, she pulled her mouth away from his, grimacing and protesting.’
    • ‘One day, we were all at some bar, having rounds of drinks, when I mentioned crawfish again, and Hiroki grimaced and made retching noises.’
    • ‘An icy blast of wind from the Arctic swirled down the hillside and froze the skin on his face. He grimaced, hunched his shoulders, and trudged on.’
    • ‘Magnus pushed himself to his feet, grimacing as he put a hand to his head.’
    • ‘She sipped her coffee, grimacing at the taste.’
    • ‘Both athletes ground to a halt, clutching their thighs and grimacing before they were even two-thirds of the way down the track.’
    • ‘The coach grimaces when he reflects upon the current challenges that face his squad, given the ‘five to six weeks’ he was left with to assemble an entirely new roster from scratch.’
    • ‘The poor man grimaces in pain and falls to one knee.’
    • ‘Make a conscious effort to relax your face when you find yourself drawing your brows together or grimacing.’
    • ‘Kris smiles then grimaces at the pain once again.’
    • ‘Piper splashed her face with water, grimacing at the picture in the mirror.’
    scowl, frown, sneer, pout, wince, glower, lour
    View synonyms


Mid 17th century: from French, from Spanish grimazo ‘caricature’, from grima ‘fright’.