Definition of grunge in US English:



  • 1informal Grime; dirt.

    • ‘Those eyes had undergone a change from murky grunge to acid green as he repeated his question with more ferocity.’
    • ‘Besides the sheer danger of war reporting, these books give a palpable sense of the dislocation and discomfort of the job, the stench of war and the deafening noise of it, the grunge and grime of it.’
    • ‘The major center of gravity for that activity was the wash rack, where a year's worth of grunge had to be completely removed from each vehicle to meet customs and agricultural standards so it could be shipped.’
    • ‘‘Too much oil holds all the grunge and the unburned powder and the junk like that, and that gums up the gun,’ he says.’
    • ‘But there must be limits to disgust as well, because you know we also need a bit of dirt and grunge in our lives to prime our immune system.’
    • ‘‘Your helmet will get a terminal case of grunge before it dies of sweat,’ the group says on its Web site.’
    • ‘It felt so good to wash away the grunge and grime of the previous night and I stood in the shower a bit longer than necessary, thankful that God had indeed created hot water tanks.’
    grime, dust, soot, smut
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  • 2A style of rock music characterized by a raucous guitar sound and lazy vocal delivery.

    • ‘Seattle grunge rock, by way of Nirvana, suddenly made coffee culture very cool.’
    • ‘In the early '90s, when everyone was listening to grunge, I sort of found myself going back and listening to a lot of world music and old field recordings of African music or whatever.’
    • ‘Back during the salad days of grunge, reporters from across the country were trekking to Seattle looking for tidbits about this hot new scene.’
    • ‘What is it about grunge rock that inspires you so?’
    • ‘At the time I was more into the club scene and he was into grunge.’
    • ‘‘I like a lot of American college grunge rock,’ he explains.’
    • ‘Nirvana was able to seek refuge in two camps, with one foot tenuously dipped in the waters of grunge, and one grimy boot firmly set in the world of punk rock.’
    • ‘Since all these groups started bad-mouthing grunge, what's happened with Seattle rock?’
    • ‘Sometimes that includes disco, rock or even grunge.’
    • ‘Not everyone has been content with this story focusing, as it does, on how one 1990s set of mid-west grunge rock artists blended rock with the country music of the small town America where they lived.’
    • ‘Self-important rock journalists like to wax poetic about the magnitude of grunge as a musical and cultural turning point.’
    • ‘But rock took a back seat in the last two decades because of the predominance of electronic music, as well as the emergence of strains like grunge rock and hip-hop, which did not appeal to mainstream Indian viewers.’
    • ‘From retro '80s to southern rock and grunge, Broadway's influences cover the musical spectrum.’
    • ‘The soldiers here always seem too young to be carrying guns, and they play grunge at fairly high volume inside their posts as you approach, but that's quickly turned off when they realise you're coming.’
    • ‘‘It's pop, rock, grunge, heavy, melodious, punk - a mix of all this,’ says the singer.’
    • ‘‘In the midst of all this,’ he writes of the era of Generation X and grunge rock, ‘satire alone could be safely, unequivocally embraced, because it acknowledged the sanctity of nothing at all.’’
    • ‘It's plain to see that a lot of work has been done on the music, as the game can randomly sample through dozens of pieces during a race - rap, pop, rock, grunge, metal.’
    • ‘Philadelphia's most recent exports combine the raw power of grunge with a bit of pop, providing those perfect sludge melodies we loved in the early Nirvana days.’
    • ‘See, grunge was a kind of rock amnesty; it allowed bands to actually beef up the chords, but leave their spandex and perming fluid in large custom-built skips outside fashion police stations.’
    • ‘At the time I was just beginning to outgrow my infatuation with heavy metal, heavy rock, death metal, punk and grunge, and was starting to listen further afield for slightly more diverse styles.’
    1. 2.1 The fashion associated with grunge rock, including loose, layered clothing and ripped jeans.
      • ‘After spending a day buying vinyl, bongs, books and grunge shirts, you might be a little bit broke.’
      • ‘His image has always been one of a man apart, the scraggy hair, ear-ring and stubble complementing a dress sense that could be labelled urban grunge.’
      • ‘But along came Tom, with his low-cut velvet hipsters and his slinky jersey dresses, and grunge was sent scurrying off back to Seattle.’
      • ‘Some appear to have just discovered grunge; others wear navy-colored jackets with red sports letters.’
      • ‘Do I like to wear black nail polish and grunge clothes?’
      • ‘There's one with hair dyed a blinding platinum blond, one with a Mohawk and spikes around his wrists, and one that actually looks fairly normal, besides the biker gloves and basic grunge outfit.’
      • ‘And, of course, lots of very pretty leather clothing (which is justified because they wear true grunge in real life).’
      • ‘His dress sense nestles between casual and grunge; his attitude is much the same.’
      • ‘Bell-bottoms were huge in the '60s and '70s and made a slight comeback with the grunge / rave look of the late '90s.’
      • ‘Eventually they arrived, the new vehicle of choice for whiskered hippie types who explored the trails in jeans and flannel shirts way before grunge became popular.’
      • ‘Watch for the Grecian dresses and Empire line dresses with a new grunge feeling.’
      • ‘I still want him to fall for me afterward - should I just wear something regular, something that shows off my figure, dress up, or go grunge?’
      • ‘But, for many young people, the anarchists' grunge could never compete with a frothy creation worn by Nick Rhodes or Steve Strange's latest sartorial take on Robinson Crusoe's buckskins.’
      • ‘The convergence of grunge with high fashion in the 1990s was an indication of the growing tension between the style sought by wealth and mass-marketing necessity.’
      • ‘There was a time when those young designers wallowed in grunge and everything was mad avant-garde.’


1960s (as a general term of disparagement): back-formation from grungy, perhaps suggested by grubby and dingy.