Definitions

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

  • adj. Causing horror and repugnance; frightful and shocking: a gruesome murder. See Synonyms at ghastly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. repellently frightful and shocking; horrific or ghastly

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Ugly; frightful. Same as grewsome.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Causing one to shudder; frightfully dismal or depressing; horribly repulsive.

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

  • adj. shockingly repellent; inspiring horror

Etymologies

Obsolete grue, to shudder (from Middle English gruen, from Middle Dutch grūwen or Middle Low German gruwen) + -some1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Compare Danish and Norwegian grusom ("horrible"), German grausam ("cruel"). (Wiktionary)

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