Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Inspiring repugnance; gruesome. See Synonyms at ghastly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. horrifyingly repellent; terrifying, gruesome

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Frightful; horrible; dreadful; harsh

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Such as to inspire fear; frightful; terrible; gruesome; grim: as, a grisly countenance; a grisly specter.
  • Frightfully; terribly.
  • An obsolete spelling of grizzly.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. shockingly repellent; inspiring horror

Etymologies

Middle English grisli, from Old English grislīc; see ghrēi- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Late Old English grisliċ. Compare German grausen and Danish grusom. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "More birds flew in through this hole; those which still remained in the guest-room rushed into the study. Flesh fell from Stark's twitching skeleton in a grisly rain."
    - 'The Dark Half', Stephen King.

    December 31, 2007