Definition of gruesome in English:



  • 1Causing repulsion or horror; grisly.

    ‘a most gruesome murder’
    • ‘That is the way a lot of people cope with doing such a horrible, gruesome, barbaric job.’
    • ‘An apartment complex in Southern California is hit by a string of gruesome murders.’
    • ‘A debate ensued which led to the rather gruesome killing of the witches of the medieval period.’
    • ‘In front of him was one of the most gruesome scenes he had ever seen in his lifetime.’
    • ‘Well, it was gruesome, there was some awful acting, but the film had a good premise and a nice twist at the end.’
    • ‘Though the gruesome murders happened a decade ago, it seems that time has stood still.’
    • ‘When the spirits are particularly gruesome I've been shocked, but I realise that they can't hurt me.’
    • ‘A railway worker had a rather gruesome discovery whilst making his rounds last week.’
    • ‘The story would have remained just a gruesome piece of local history had not something extraordinary occurred two years later.’
    • ‘Sure, some will die a horrible gruesome death, but it's only what a fox would do to another animal.’
    • ‘To anyone who thinks of an abattoir as a place of gruesome horrors, this might sound like good news.’
    • ‘The gruesome murder shocked and revolted the nation, igniting a debate on the killers' future.’
    • ‘I haven't seen it, but I heard they cut out an awful lot of parts of it, which were gruesome.’
    • ‘But I could not bear to have the weight of your most gruesome death on my conscience.’
    • ‘Her vivid descriptions are often gruesome, but never gratuitous.’
    • ‘One of the employees went to check on the missing worker and discovered the gruesome murder scene.’
    • ‘The fur trade is a violent, bloody business but these skins are particularly gruesome.’
    • ‘A bit like watching a car crash, it was gruesome but fascinating.’
    • ‘Why such gruesome murders are happening again and again is really a thought-provoking question.’
    • ‘His determination to show us the full consequences of a shooting delivers some of the most gruesome images this side of a horror movie.’
    grisly, ghastly, frightful, horrid, horrifying, fearful, hideous, macabre, spine-chilling, horrible, horrendous, grim, awful, dire, dreadful, terrible, horrific
    disgusting, repulsive, repugnant, revolting, repellent, sickening, distressing, shocking, appalling, abominable, loathsome, abhorrent, odious, monstrous, unspeakable
    sick, sick-making, gut-churning, gross
    disgustful, loathly
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1informal Extremely unpleasant.
      ‘gruesome working hours’
      • ‘The spurious impact of channels on society is an issue of gruesome and far-reaching consequences.’
      • ‘The manner of his sacking was gruesome enough - a clean sacking turned into a protracted public humiliation for both men.’
      • ‘It is because the daily reports are too harrowing, the gruesome repetition too terrible.’
      • ‘Many troops now feel that they will never see the civilian life they once saw at the end of a long, gruesome road.’


Late 16th century: from Scots grue to feel horror, shudder (of Scandinavian origin) + -some. Rare before the late 18th century, the word was popularized by Sir Walter Scott.