Definition of gruel in US English:



  • A thin liquid food of oatmeal or other meal boiled in milk or water.

    • ‘In the morning, they were treated to breakfast, an unappetising meal of high energy gruel that had to fill them until noon.’
    • ‘Twice a day inmates receive two pieces of dry bread and weak tea; at midday they are handed a portion of soup or thin gruel.’
    • ‘For a cart owner, the day begins well before sunrise when he gives his pair of oxen a good scrub and a meal of hay and rice - bran gruel.’
    • ‘A bowl of this gruel is a hearty meal all by itself, but there are some serving suggestions that I'll offer up.’
    • ‘A light diet of mild rasam rice or gruel is followed for the rest of the day.’
    • ‘It has been two days since I've eaten, and even then it was only a small bowl of thin, runny gruel.’
    • ‘Does the idea of drinking graham cracker milk gruel make you laugh or feel ill or both?’
    • ‘A bowl of oatmeal or grits or gruel is set in front of me, but my stomach retches.’
    • ‘Another traditional dish is gruel or porridge made with the dried fruit of sago palms.’
    • ‘The main crop was oats, barley and wheat, used for the making of bread, porridge, gruel and in the case of the barley, brewing beer.’
    • ‘They were back at the cafeteria, and he was served the same meal as the rest of the men: gruel and potatoes.’
    • ‘Over the next few days they are boiled with paddy, washed off with fresh water, soaked again in stale rice gruel and patted dry.’
    • ‘Many reported feeling depleted and vulnerable and said that the camp food was mainly gruel.’
    • ‘Pride of place, however, goes to the contents of a large brown bowl in the centre of the table, which contains a rice gruel boiled in Japanese tea.’
    • ‘She found just enough ingredients to cook up a decidedly thin gruel.’
    • ‘It was a gourmet meal compared to the thin gruel we had been living off of mostly.’
    • ‘Her older brother's wife had thrown leftover rice gruel beside the cowshed.’
    • ‘Their only recompense is thin gruel and some bread at the end of the day.’
    • ‘It is said that the owner often treated his guests to cold dishes, stuffed cakes and gruel.’
    • ‘Ayurvedic outlets are being besieged with requests for this mixture of rice gruel and medicinal herbs.’


Middle English: from Old French, of Germanic origin.