Definition of grim in US English:

grim

adjective

  • 1Forbidding or uninviting.

    ‘his grim expression’
    ‘long rows of grim, dark housing developments’
    • ‘"There's been a problem, " Gary explained, his expression grim.’
    • ‘His entire demeanor had changed, becoming hardened and grim, determination coupled with a strength that carried him past exhaustion.’
    • ‘The young man nodded, his expression frozen in grim acceptance.’
    • ‘The headmaster and priest was there, a grim expression on his face.’
    • ‘Half an hour later, the men came home - trying not to look grim and worried.’
    • ‘Lowering the hand holding his cordless phone, Charles walks up to Tyler, a grim expression on his handsome face.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Lari's expression turned grim, ‘There is no way to get out of here.’’
    • ‘In a brief, grim speech to the nation late on Saturday, the president did not say if he accepted their resignations.’
    • ‘Then he'd walked away, looking so grim she'd known something was horribly wrong.’
    • ‘This time, none of them were laughing; they looked grim and serious.’
    • ‘Nick's broad face is now very grim.’
    • ‘Dr. Ashton emerges, a grim expression on his face.’
    • ‘I looked up to see Meredith, her expression grim, staring down at me.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Edward is cheerful, albeit in a rather dark way, while Cara is grim and determined.’
    • ‘But she could see everyone else paying close attention, their expressions slowly becoming more serious and grim.’
    • ‘She looked up to see his grim expression and immediately sobered.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most of us use grim humour to cope with life's dark side.’
      • ‘But somehow, that sort of irreverent, grim humor doesn't seem appropriate.’
      black, dark, mirthless, bleak, cynical, fatalistic
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    2. 1.2 Depressing or worrying to consider.
      ‘the grim news of the murder’
      • ‘This could be grim news for millions of consumers whose life savings are invested in pensions, endowments and other savings contracts.’
      • ‘The war was a grim reminder of the inhumanity of man to man.’
      • ‘Those are just some of the grim realities that illustrate the sorry state of education in black America.’
      • ‘Even when climate change is removed from the frame the picture remains grim.’
      • ‘The employment outlook is grim for front-end staff with basic web design and development qualifications.’
      • ‘At first sight, the table makes for rather grim reading.’
      • ‘This means the prognosis is probably not as grim as conventional wisdom would have us believe.’
      • ‘If this all sounds unrelentingly grim I promise you it isn't.’
      • ‘The 1,500-strong work force at the Gipsy Lane plant were given the grim news yesterday.’
      • ‘The alternative - settling for economic, cultural and demographic stagnation - is too grim to consider.’
      • ‘Such grim and gloomy comparisons between today's economic slowdown and those of yesteryear are common.’
      • ‘Some of the children will also be dressed in a black T-shirts as grim reminder of the drivers, passengers and pedestrians who died.’
      • ‘But thankfully things are not as grim as they seem.’
      • ‘But once they leave school, the outlook for many school dropouts remains grim.’
      • ‘And like most contemporary science fiction it offers a fairly grim view of the future.’
      • ‘However, Health Protection Agency Figures dating back to 1995 paint a far more grim picture.’
      • ‘The grim discovery of the body was made by a farmer yesterday morning.’
      • ‘Back in the summer, the prospects for Everton's season were looking pretty grim.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The disease carries a grim prognosis - only 14 percent of patients survive 5 years.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘For many it was the hope of escaping the misery of their grim working lives that led them to sign up.’
      • ‘Rural life is shown as harsh and grim where the ablest and younger peasants sought to escape to the factories in the cities.’
      • ‘The lives of agricultural and urban workers would have been just as grim.’
      • ‘The climate of Kolyma is extreme, even compared to the grim background of eastern Siberia.’
      • ‘My goal was to record the grim daily lives of a people who had endured a half century of warfare.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Others are angry but matter-of-fact about a lifestyle that seems unbearably grim to the outsider.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There are moments that will break your heart with their grim, bleak realism.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I couldn't hear a thing - I just held 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘Three of us clung on for grim death and we survived,’ said Paul McGeough of Australia ‘s Sydney Morning Herald.’’
      • ‘I have seen people clinging on for grim death as they were almost tossed over the side.’
      • ‘It would have made for marvelous photos, except that I was too busy hanging on to my horse for grim death.’
      • ‘They held on like grim death to their advantage for eight minutes and actually came close to adding another score.’
      • ‘People were hanging on for grim death as I looked around for the sick bag!’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

grim

/ɡrim//ɡrɪm/