Definition of macabre in US English:

macabre

adjective

  • Disturbing and horrifying because of involvement with or depiction of death and injury.

    ‘a macabre series of murders’
    • ‘And what happened next was 70 persons butchered and burnt in a macabre dance of death.’
    • ‘Modern pharmaceutical research is playing Dr Hart's law out on a macabre global scale.’
    • ‘Towards midnight a macabre scene of pain and death dominated the capital.’
    • ‘Over one hundred people were reportedly killed in this macabre death of dance.’
    • ‘Ms Taylor has spoken about how her daughter spent a lot of time in suicide chatrooms with a macabre obsession with death.’
    • ‘Death at such an early age and in such a macabre manner seems so unfair.’
    • ‘As it is I feel like a killer, and it's more than a little macabre having a Chamber Of Death in the corner of the lounge.’
    • ‘I didn't mind at all when Brenda called it macabre or morbid or whatever she said.’
    • ‘The macabre theme is emphasized by an Escher-inspired set where stairs lead up and down into unknown places.’
    • ‘Horrified at the realisation we are all drawn to the macabre.’
    • ‘During a Halloween party, the Simpsons tell three horrifying tales of the macabre.’
    • ‘The story of secrecy, scientific ethics and national security is macabre, grisly and disturbing.’
    • ‘The Archbishop Turpin, disturbed by this macabre turn of events, decided to examine the corpse.’
    • ‘The atmosphere it creates visualizes the most grim and macabre nature of the artist.’
    • ‘I attended a spectacle which was comic, realistic, horrifying, macabre.’
    • ‘Isolation, fear, death, blood, the macabre, pain: this film has it all - and then some.’
    • ‘It had scores of documentary photographs of case studies and procedures, and was not nearly as macabre as it may sound.’
    • ‘It's not gory, although it is quite macabre for quite a large portion of the plot.’
    • ‘A perfect day had begun with a wedding reception in a marquee at the family home, but had ended with the most appalling and macabre tragedy.’
    gruesome, grisly, grim, gory, morbid, ghastly, unearthly, lurid, grotesque, hideous, horrific, horrible, horrifying, horrid, horrendous, terrifying, frightening, frightful, fearsome, shocking, dreadful, appalling, loathsome, repugnant, repulsive, sickening
    black, weird, unhealthy, sick
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 19th century: from French macabre, from Danse Macabre ‘dance of death’, from Old French, perhaps from Macabé ‘a Maccabee’, with reference to a miracle play depicting the slaughter of the Maccabees.

Pronunciation