Definitions

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

  • n. Slang Filth; dirt.
  • n. Slang A style of rock music that incorporates elements of punk rock and heavy metal, popularized in the early 1990s and often marked by lyrics exhibiting nihilism, dissatisfaction, or apathy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Dirt or filth, especially when difficult to clean.
  • n. The state of being filthy; grubbiness.
  • n. A subgenre of alternative music, originating from Seattle, Washington, which melds punk and metal.

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

  • n. the state of being covered with unclean things

Etymologies

Back-formation from grungy.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Back-formation from grungy. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Though the film makes relatively few gestures toward contextualizing the band's place in the music of the '90s the band's members scorn the term grunge as a reductive buzzword, there are a few heartrending clips of The Most Dangerous Line of Latitude on the Planet Dana Stevens is Slate's movie critic.

    Slate Magazine

  • Not once during these shows did the word grunge cross my mind.

    In search of Nirvana

  • Pearl Jam went on to surpass its 1990s contemporaries like Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Nirvana, even as it transcended the label grunge.

    NYT > Home Page

  • With British music in the grip of acid house, and long before the term grunge was in popular use, a trio of musicians from Seattle played the Astoria at the bottom of a bill featuring fellow plaid-shirted rockers TAD and Mudhoney.

    Music news, reviews, comment and features | guardian.co.uk

  • And dear god, when can we finally retire the term grunge for anything that's worn or distressed looking?

    Netvouz - new bookmarks

  • "The term grunge doesn't really bring a whole lot to my mind," Arm says over the phone from his home in Seattle.

    Dallas Observer | Complete Issue

  • But the word "grunge," if not beloved, does accurately describe the music's sense of loss, frustration, and anger and the depth of the magically evocative drop D power chord, which you hear in songs like Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" and "Man in the Box" by Alice in Chains.

    The Seattle Sound

  • Underride are about as far from "grunge" "post grunge" or any other genre with the word grunge in it as you can get.

    www.hardrockhideout.com

  • And I was so filthy: sunscreen, bike grime, another layer of sunscreen, grunge from the road, sweat, some more muck just for good measure.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • But as with all things Nirvana, the anniversary of Cobain's death is overblown, and should be celebrated insofar as it had the positive effect of putting the first nail in the coffin of the marketing term "grunge."

    Forbes.com: News

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