Definition of grunt in English:



  • 1 (of an animal, especially a pig) make a low, short guttural sound.

    • ‘The large creatures were grunting and groaning, and their large, curved tusks flashed in the moonlight.’
    • ‘The animals, used to hiding in lakes, grunted and huddled together in the shade at the back corner of their pen.’
    • ‘Perhaps it was a bush pig that would grunt and snuffle away when it spotted her.’
    • ‘Even the horse grunted uneasily at her cold tone.’
    • ‘Simon on the other hand is in love with cuddly toys, and also anything that chimes or makes a silly noise, especially cows mooing or pigs grunting.’
    • ‘The huge walrus made another grunt and then wobbled itself away from us and across the few feet of exposed rocks and slipped into the water.’
    • ‘The gorilla grunted louder, but still did not move from its repose.’
    • ‘And you'll not hear a pig grunting or a hen cackling in many farmyards today.’
    • ‘As the chimpanzees fed, our research assistants heard gorillas grunting and moving about in the undergrowth below the tree, apparently feeding on fallen fruits.’
    • ‘The large pig grunted, and belched, much to the disgust of the students.’
    1. 1.1(of a person) make a low inarticulate sound, typically to express effort or indicate assent.
      ‘Graham grunted and heaved as he helped the masons fit a huge slab of stone into place’
      [with direct speech] ‘‘What is it?’ he grunted irritably’
      [with object] ‘he grunted his approval and then walked back’
      • ‘Every time you chose a certain piece of clothing, the man would grunt his assent.’
      • ‘It happens in the best of marriages when your partner asks you about your day and you just grunt or turn away - or vice versa.’
      • ‘He grunted in acknowledgement and we began our search of the top floor.’
      • ‘She looked at him with an angered, annoyed face, and grunted under her breath.’
      • ‘The first man grunted angrily and shifted his spear in his grasp.’
      • ‘But now, in the woods, he shovels so ardently he is grunting.’
      • ‘Her brother merely grunted in reply and rolled onto his other side, facing the wall.’
      • ‘Unlike her brother, who merely grunted in response, she was wide awake.’
      • ‘The adored child is gone, replaced by a hostile stranger who will only grunt, slam doors and stare blankly at the TV.’
      • ‘Normally she was grunting and complaining about one thing or another in her usual mocking tone.’
      • ‘He ripped the sleeve of his shirt and tied the wound tight, again grunting with pain.’
      • ‘I kissed her on her cheek and all she could do was grunt.’
      • ‘I mentally grunted and tried hard to make my steps not sound so much like stomps as I made my way to the doors.’
      • ‘Just like the last anniversary, I still strain and grunt to push out each infrequent update but ultimately it's still good fun.’
      • ‘The man only grunted again and turned away.’
      • ‘I just grunted in response, not even bothering to look up.’
      • ‘I grunt slightly in disgust at this display.’
      • ‘He grunted again, before slouching off to the counter to order some drinks.’
      • ‘I tried to say something, but just grunted slightly.’
      • ‘He just grunted but he got one out and handed it to me.’


  • 1A low, short guttural sound made by an animal or a person.

    • ‘She sighed after the original grunt at the unwanted physical contact and thought about how she couldn't stand him.’
    • ‘They form a sort of telegraphese, an abbreviated form of communication that may have more in common with the grunts of Neanderthals than the written language of modern humankind.’
    • ‘Their vocalisations range from low guttural contact grunts to alarm barks and screams.’
    • ‘Only guttural grunts and surreal words-in-isolation issued from my brain and mouth while the record played.’
    • ‘The crack of helmets smacking helmets and the grunts and groans all had a familiar ring.’
    • ‘The next morning I awoke to the bellows, grunts and snorts of a dozen huge elephant seals wallowing on the black beach below the sleeping dongas (cargo containers).’
    • ‘They shifted their hefty soldier's packs on their backs with a few grunts.’
    • ‘The fighting was still noiseless, like a macabre puppet show, save for the snarls and grunts of his companions.’
    • ‘Her boyfriend Dave was reading the evening paper, emitting the occasional odd grunt.’
    • ‘Most players these days seem to insist on vocalising a very unattractive sounding grunt whenever they hit the ball, as if in some way the making of this noise actually improves their performance.’
    • ‘Indeed, the cyclists are treated as animals - the only noise they make is a series of equine whinnies, snorts, and grunts.’
    • ‘He could hear voices behind him, the low, guttural grunts of goblins or orcs.’
    • ‘A hand grabbed his arm and he shook it loose, only turning to face his assailant when he heard a very definite female grunt.’
    • ‘If your language consists of little more than guttural grunts and cherry pie, you can't be blamed for not getting it.’
    • ‘The only sounds he heard were the crickets chirping, the manes and tails being swished about and the occasional grunts and snorts from the animals that occupy the stables.’
    • ‘With many sleepy grunts and yawns, the soldiers dressed, ate a hurried meal, then slowly formed ranks.’
    • ‘As they came close to the end of the forest, grunts, shouts, and curses were heard.’
    • ‘He has a particularly disagreeable grunt when he does not understand what you say, and desires a repetition.’
    • ‘Hearing Jennifer's weak little grunts and moans every time she does something like open a door is also annoying: realistic though it may be, you don't hear the male heroes complaining.’
    • ‘Sometimes it's just a grunt or two, a guttural sound akin to some sort of proto-speech.’
  • 2North American informal A low-ranking or unskilled soldier or other worker.

    ‘he went from grunt to senior executive vice president in less than five years’
    [as modifier] ‘grunt work’
    • ‘This time he scrutinizes the sacrifices of warrior grunts rather than political wonks and politicians.’
    • ‘What measure of fitness is needed for a sedentary, far-behind-the-lines soldier who by pushing buttons and analyzing data can kill more of the enemy than a battalion of grunts?’
    • ‘The love affair was company-wide, although not necessarily shared by the grunts, as one former grunt writes.’
    • ‘It's a sad fact that money doesn't exactly leak down to the actual grunt workers.’
    • ‘Its heroes are Vietnam grunts who only want to survive, but who give it their all because their sense of responsibility to each other and to themselves demands it.’
    • ‘Many financial firm victims, far from being mega-rich, were young traders and technicians, the grunts of the world capital markets.’
    • ‘On the other hand, I've been a jack-squat soldier surrounded by grunts more times than you could imagine.’
    • ‘He is a moving target, who also exhibits what the American military call a ‘grunt’ mentality, and a grunt is an infantryman in the finest sense of the word.’
    • ‘For a ruling class man to get a working class grunt to pay that much attention showed how good he was.’
    • ‘Before he dreams about the ambush at night, he replays what his grunt training could've made him do better.’
    • ‘The most invidious policy was rotating officers out of infantry companies after six months when grunts had no such option.’
    • ‘An infantryman who can't handle the stress of combat is liable to get himself, and some of his fellow grunts, killed in combat.’
    • ‘I did what I did because I was a dumb second lieutenant with a bunch of grunts, and we didn't know any better.’
    • ‘Would you be an instinctive soldier, a brilliant commander, or a grunt?’
    • ‘Most of the participants were ordinary combat grunts, with very few high-ranking staff and operations officers.’
    • ‘Now, the army was called back in to do all the grunt work.’
    • ‘If you were applying for a grunt programmer or contract design position, then sure, the traditional route may work better.’
    • ‘His descriptions of the war at the level of the grunts in the line, though not novel, are where this book shines.’
    • ‘Unlike the grunts, he had a better view of the larger picture, but he may not have articulated that to those on the ground.’
    • ‘Soldiers are described as cannon fodder, as dumb grunts.’
  • 3US A dessert made of fruit topped with dough.

    ‘blueberry grunt’
    • ‘The oddly named grunt is like a warm shortcake consisting of sweet dumplings baked over simmering fruit.’
    • ‘Grunting a little, I plopped some warm grunt into a bowl.’
  • 4An edible shoaling fish of tropical inshore waters and coral reefs, able to make a loud noise by grinding its teeth and amplifying the sound in the swim bladder.

    • ‘It is nonetheless a beautiful shallow reef with huge areas of elk and staghorn coral sheltering shoals of grunt, snapper and goatfish.’
    • ‘There were plenty of fish: blue-striped grunts, moray eels, butterflyfish, bright yellow trumpetfish and multi-coloured wrasse.’
    • ‘Golden eye or yellowtail grunts, chubs or scads would move unhurriedly across, changing direction with uncanny synchronisation.’
    • ‘I zoom round the other divers seeking good camera angles, lining up divers with outcrops of coral and sponges, then flitting on to catch shoals of grunts and jacks and all the usual reef fish.’
    • ‘There are a variety of other edible pan fish that may show up, such as grunts and porgies.’


Old English grunnettan, of Germanic origin and related to German grunzen; probably originally imitative.