from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Causing grief, pain, or anguish.
  • adjective Serious or dire; grave.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Causing grief or sorrow; afflictive; hard to bear; oppressive.
  • Inflicting or capable of inflicting pain or suffering; distressing in act or use; fierce; savage.
  • Atrocious; heinous; aggravated.
  • Expressing grief or affliction; full of grief as, a grievous cry.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Causing grief or sorrow; painful; afflictive; hard to bear; offensive; harmful.
  • adjective Characterized by great atrocity; heinous; aggravated; flagitious.
  • adjective Full of, or expressing, grief; showing great sorrow or affliction.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Causing grief, pain or sorrow.
  • adjective Serious, grave, dire or dangerous.

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

  • adjective of great gravity or crucial import; requiring serious thought
  • adjective causing fear or anxiety by threatening great harm
  • adjective causing or marked by grief or anguish
  • adjective shockingly brutal or cruel


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

[Anglo-Norman grevous, from grever, to harm, aggrieve, from Latin gravāre, to burden; see grieve.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From grieve, from the Middle English greven, from the Old French grever, from Latin gravare (which means to burden). Developed in the 13th century.


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