Definition of macabre in English:



  • Disturbing because concerned with or causing a fear of death.

    ‘a macabre series of murders’
    • ‘Over one hundred people were reportedly killed in this macabre death of dance.’
    • ‘Ms Taylor has spoken about how her daughter spent a lot of time in suicide chatrooms with a macabre obsession with death.’
    • ‘The Archbishop Turpin, disturbed by this macabre turn of events, decided to examine the corpse.’
    • ‘Isolation, fear, death, blood, the macabre, pain: this film has it all - and then some.’
    • ‘During a Halloween party, the Simpsons tell three horrifying tales of the macabre.’
    • ‘The atmosphere it creates visualizes the most grim and macabre nature of the artist.’
    • ‘As it is I feel like a killer, and it's more than a little macabre having a Chamber Of Death in the corner of the lounge.’
    • ‘Horrified at the realisation we are all drawn to the macabre.’
    • ‘And what happened next was 70 persons butchered and burnt in a macabre dance of death.’
    • ‘A perfect day had begun with a wedding reception in a marquee at the family home, but had ended with the most appalling and macabre tragedy.’
    • ‘I attended a spectacle which was comic, realistic, horrifying, macabre.’
    • ‘Towards midnight a macabre scene of pain and death dominated the capital.’
    • ‘Modern pharmaceutical research is playing Dr Hart's law out on a macabre global scale.’
    • ‘Death at such an early age and in such a macabre manner seems so unfair.’
    • ‘It had scores of documentary photographs of case studies and procedures, and was not nearly as macabre as it may sound.’
    • ‘The story of secrecy, scientific ethics and national security is macabre, grisly and disturbing.’
    • ‘The macabre theme is emphasized by an Escher-inspired set where stairs lead up and down into unknown places.’
    • ‘I didn't mind at all when Brenda called it macabre or morbid or whatever she said.’
    • ‘It's not gory, although it is quite macabre for quite a large portion of the plot.’
    gruesome, grisly, grim, gory, morbid, ghastly, unearthly, lurid, grotesque, hideous, horrific, horrible, horrifying, horrid, horrendous, terrifying, frightening, frightful, fearsome, shocking, dreadful, appalling, loathsome, repugnant, repulsive, sickening
    black, weird, unhealthy, sick
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Late 19th century: from French macabre, from Danse Macabre dance of death, from Old French, perhaps from Macabé a Maccabee, with reference to a miracle play depicting the slaughter of the Maccabees.