Help Wordnik hunt for a million missing words by backing our Kickstarter!


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To be frightened; to shudder with fear.
  • n. A shiver, a shudder
  • n. Any byproduct of a gruesome event, i.e. gore, viscera, entrails, blood and guts.
  • n. A fictional predator that dwells in the dark.
  • adj. Of an object, green when first observed before a specified time or blue when first observed after that time.
  • adj. Green or blue, as a translation from languages such as Welsh that do not distinguish between these hues.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To shiver; shudder; feel horror.
  • (impersonal) To pain; grieve.


From Middle English gruen. Probably from Middle Low German gruwen or Middle Dutch gruwen (Dutch gruwen), both from Proto-Germanic *grūwijanan. (Wiktionary)
Back-formation from gruesome. (Wiktionary)
Probably from gruesome; first used in Jack Vance's Dying Earth universe, but popularized by the text-based computer game Zork (1980). (Wiktionary)
Blend of green and blue. Coined by Nelson Goodman to illustrate concepts in the philosophy of science. (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Although nutraloaf can be found in many United States prisons, its use is controversial. It was mentioned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978 in Hutto v. Finney while ruling that conditions in the Arkansas penal system constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Prisoners were fed "grue", described as "a substance created by mashing meat, potatoes, margarine, syrup, vegetables, eggs, and seasoning into a paste and baking the mixture in a pan." The majority decision delivered by Justice Stevens upheld an order from the 8th Circuit Court that the grue diet be discontinued."


    June 10, 2015

  • n. That which one is likely to be eaten by

    April 16, 2015

  • "Still in the grip of a cold grue, I swung around and strained my eyes ... half expecting to see the scene engraved on my memory materialize again out of darkness...."
    —Diana Gabaldon, Drums of Autumn (NY: Dell, 1997), 250

    January 19, 2010

  • To expand, an object is grue if green and examined before time t, or blue and not examined before t.

    October 24, 2007

  • 'It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.' (Zork)

    Also a creation of Nelson Goodman. See also bleen.

    October 23, 2007

  • The noise made by people feeling ill in children's comics in the 80's.

    EDIT: ignore the above! The word I was thinking of was the homonym groo.

    October 23, 2007