Definition of grim in US English:

grim

adjectivegrimmest, grimmer

  • 1Forbidding or uninviting.

    ‘his grim expression’
    ‘long rows of grim, dark housing developments’
    • ‘"There's been a problem, " Gary explained, his expression grim.’
    • ‘The headmaster and priest was there, a grim expression on his face.’
    • ‘She looked up to see his grim expression and immediately sobered.’
    • ‘In a brief, grim speech to the nation late on Saturday, the president did not say if he accepted their resignations.’
    • ‘Lowering the hand holding his cordless phone, Charles walks up to Tyler, a grim expression on his handsome face.’
    • ‘His entire demeanor had changed, becoming hardened and grim, determination coupled with a strength that carried him past exhaustion.’
    • ‘But she could see everyone else paying close attention, their expressions slowly becoming more serious and grim.’
    • ‘The young man nodded, his expression frozen in grim acceptance.’
    • ‘Dr. Ashton emerges, a grim expression on his face.’
    • ‘This time, none of them were laughing; they looked grim and serious.’
    • ‘I looked up to see Meredith, her expression grim, staring down at me.’
    • ‘Half an hour later, the men came home - trying not to look grim and worried.’
    • ‘Then he'd walked away, looking so grim she'd known something was horribly wrong.’
    • ‘Lari's expression turned grim, ‘There is no way to get out of here.’’
    • ‘Nick's broad face is now very grim.’
    • ‘Edward is cheerful, albeit in a rather dark way, while Cara is grim and determined.’
    • ‘Andrew entered through a side door to the observation room and stood beside the Doctor, face grim with worry.’
    • ‘The statement came shortly after staff at the five-year-old firm, which employs 11,000, arrived for work looking grim as they awaited news.’
    • ‘Ross watches Alex's long, lean face fall into an expression of grim frustration, and for a moment he feels sorry for him.’
    • ‘Charlie's voice was grim, and there was little humour in her joke.’
    stern, forbidding, uninviting, unapproachable, aloof, distant
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    1. 1.1 (of humor) lacking genuine levity; mirthless; black.
      ‘some moments of grim humor’
      • ‘But somehow, that sort of irreverent, grim humor doesn't seem appropriate.’
      • ‘One columnist who manages both to make sense of the situation and to wring some humor, however grim, out of it, is the gifted Diana West.’
      • ‘Although it took 13 reconstructive surgeries in six years to put her back together, Bray cultivated a certain grim sense of humor about her injuries.’
      • ‘Sitting in the shade of the fig trees in Westminster's bustling Portcullis House last week, Ian Cawsey recalled with grim humour the moment when he almost died.’
      • ‘Most of us use grim humour to cope with life's dark side.’
      black, dark, mirthless, bleak, cynical, fatalistic
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    2. 1.2 Depressing or worrying to consider.
      ‘the grim news of the murder’
      • ‘And like most contemporary science fiction it offers a fairly grim view of the future.’
      • ‘His choice of language was a bit doom-laden, but his take on the current oil situation appears to justify his pretty grim view of what's in store.’
      • ‘The war was a grim reminder of the inhumanity of man to man.’
      • ‘If this all sounds unrelentingly grim I promise you it isn't.’
      • ‘Those are just some of the grim realities that illustrate the sorry state of education in black America.’
      • ‘The 1,500-strong work force at the Gipsy Lane plant were given the grim news yesterday.’
      • ‘The employment outlook is grim for front-end staff with basic web design and development qualifications.’
      • ‘Even when climate change is removed from the frame the picture remains grim.’
      • ‘The grim discovery of the body was made by a farmer yesterday morning.’
      • ‘Such grim and gloomy comparisons between today's economic slowdown and those of yesteryear are common.’
      • ‘This could be grim news for millions of consumers whose life savings are invested in pensions, endowments and other savings contracts.’
      • ‘But once they leave school, the outlook for many school dropouts remains grim.’
      • ‘However, Health Protection Agency Figures dating back to 1995 paint a far more grim picture.’
      • ‘The alternative - settling for economic, cultural and demographic stagnation - is too grim to consider.’
      • ‘With these grim figures to consider, it is expected that Carlow would be one of the first test centres in the country to benefit from any forthcoming additional resources.’
      • ‘Back in the summer, the prospects for Everton's season were looking pretty grim.’
      • ‘The disease carries a grim prognosis - only 14 percent of patients survive 5 years.’
      • ‘This means the prognosis is probably not as grim as conventional wisdom would have us believe.’
      • ‘At first sight, the table makes for rather grim reading.’
      • ‘But thankfully things are not as grim as they seem.’
      • ‘Some of the children will also be dressed in a black T-shirts as grim reminder of the drivers, passengers and pedestrians who died.’
      dreadful, dire, ghastly, horrible, horrendous, horrid, terrible, awful, appalling, frightful, shocking, unspeakable, atrocious, harrowing
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    3. 1.3 Unrelentingly harsh; merciless or severe.
      ‘few creatures are able to thrive in this grim and hostile land’
      • ‘My goal was to record the grim daily lives of a people who had endured a half century of warfare.’
      • ‘Arizona is one of the three poorest states in the US and Flagstaff reflects that grim economic reality.’
      • ‘These tenant farmers often lived grim and bleak existences.’
      • ‘Rural life is shown as harsh and grim where the ablest and younger peasants sought to escape to the factories in the cities.’
      • ‘There are moments that will break your heart with their grim, bleak realism.’
      • ‘Others are angry but matter-of-fact about a lifestyle that seems unbearably grim to the outsider.’
      • ‘The climate of Kolyma is extreme, even compared to the grim background of eastern Siberia.’
      • ‘For many it was the hope of escaping the misery of their grim working lives that led them to sign up.’
      • ‘The lives of agricultural and urban workers would have been just as grim.’
      • ‘If you want to shape up, but running and rock climbing leave you cold, maybe it's time to consider something less grim and solitary.’
      merciless, cruel, ruthless, pitiless, savage, vicious, brutal, harsh, severe
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Phrases

  • like (or for) grim death

    • With great determination.

      ‘we had to hold on like grim death’
      • ‘I have seen people clinging on for grim death as they were almost tossed over the side.’
      • ‘Argentina have won most of the plaudits so far, and they were certainly impressive with their movement, pace and skill, but they were also hanging on for grim death against the Ivory Coast at the end.’
      • ‘Moments later they were hanging on for grim death.’
      • ‘They follow a proven formula: you get a job, you then get a mortgage and you then hang on like grim death to your job to pay off the mortgage.’
      • ‘I couldn't hear a thing - I just held on for grim death.’
      • ‘People were hanging on for grim death as I looked around for the sick bag!’
      • ‘‘Three of us clung on for grim death and we survived,’ said Paul McGeough of Australia ‘s Sydney Morning Herald.’’
      • ‘It would have made for marvelous photos, except that I was too busy hanging on to my horse for grim death.’
      • ‘If you dare look outside while you are clinging on for grim death, you see the bus is a few inches from the dawdling car in front, the airhorn urging the driver to move it, or move over.’
      • ‘They held on like grim death to their advantage for eight minutes and actually came close to adding another score.’

Origin

Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch grim and German grimm.

Pronunciation

grim

/ɡrɪm//ɡrim/