grieving (adj.) Look up grieving at
mid-15c., "causing pain," present participle adjective from grieve. Meaning "feeling pain" is from 1807. Related: Grievingly.
grievous (adj.) Look up grievous at
c. 1300, from Anglo-French grevous (Old French grevos) "heavy, large, weighty; hard, difficult, toilsome," from grief (see grief). Legal term grievous bodily harm attested from 1803.
grievously (adv.) Look up grievously at
mid-14c., from grievous + -ly (2).
grievousness (n.) Look up grievousness at
c. 1300, from grievous + -ness.
griffin (n.) Look up griffin at
c. 1200 (as a surname), from Old French grifon "a bird of prey," also "fabulous bird of Greek mythology" (with head and wings of an eagle, body and hind quarters of a lion, believed to inhabit Scythia and guard its gold), named for its hooked beak, from Late Latin gryphus, misspelling of grypus, variant of gryps (genitive grypos) "griffin," from Greek gryps (genitive grypos) "a griffin or dragon," literally "curved, hook-nosed" (opposed to simos).

Klein suggests a Semitic source, "through the medium of the Hittites," and cites Hebrew kerubh "a winged angel," Akkadian karibu, epithet of the bull-colossus (see cherub). The same or an identical word was used in mid-19c. Louisiana to mean "mulatto" (especially one one-quarter or two-fifths white) and in British India from 1793 to mean "newly arrived European," probably via notion of "strange hybrid animal."
Griffith Look up Griffith at
masc. proper name, from Welsh Gruffydd, probably from Latin Rufus, from rufus "red."
griffon (n.) Look up griffon at
alternative spelling in certain senses of griffin. Also a name given to the Byzantine Greeks, perhaps suggested by some of the collateral forms of Greek.
grift Look up grift at
1906 (n.); 1915 (v.), U.S. underworld slang, perhaps a corruption of graft (n.2).
grifter (n.) Look up grifter at
"confidence trickster," 1906, carnival and circus slang, probably an alteration of grafter (see graft (n.2); also compare grift). Gradually extended to "any non-violent criminal."
grill (n.) Look up grill at
"gridiron, grated utensil for broiling over a fire," 1680s, from French gril, from Old French greil, alteration of graille "grill, grating, railings, fencing" (13c.), from Latin craticula "gridiron, small griddle," diminutive of cratis "wickerwork," perhaps from a suffixed form of PIE *kert- "to turn, entwine." Grill-room "lunchroom where steaks, chops, etc. are grilled to order" (1869) came to be used for "informal restaurant," hence grill as a short form in this sense (by 1910). In many instances, Modern English grill is a shortened form of grille, such as "chrome front of an automobile."
grill (v.) Look up grill at
"to broil on a grill," 1660s, from grill (n.); figurative sense from 1842, and the specific (transitive) sense of "to subject to intense questioning" is first attested 1894. Related: Grilled; grilling.
grille (n.) Look up grille at
"ornamental grating," 1660s, from French grille (fem.) "grating," from Old French greille "gridiron," from Latin craticula "gridiron, small grill" (see grill (n.)). "The distinction in Fr[ench] between grille and grill ... appears to date from about the 16th c." [OED].
grim (adj.) Look up grim at
Old English grimm "fierce, cruel, savage; severe, dire, painful," from Proto-Germanic *grimmaz (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German, German grimm "grim, angry, fierce," Old Norse grimmr "stern, horrible, dire," Swedish grym "fierce, furious"), from PIE *ghrem- "angry," perhaps imitative of the sound of rumbling thunder (compare Greek khremizein "to neigh," Old Church Slavonic vuzgrimeti "to thunder," Russian gremet' "thunder").

A weaker word now than it once was; sense of "dreary, gloomy" first recorded late 12c. It also had a verb form in Old English, grimman (class III strong verb; past tense gramm, past participle grummen), and a noun, grima "goblin, specter," perhaps also a proper name or attribute-name of a god, hence its appearance as an element in place names.

Grim reaper as a figurative phrase for "death" is attested by 1847 (the association of grim and death goes back at least to 17c.). A Middle English expression for "have recourse to harsh measures" was to wend the grim tooth (early 13c.).
grim (n.) Look up grim at
"spectre, bogey, haunting spirit," 1620s, from grim (adj.).
grimace (n.) Look up grimace at
1650s, from French grimace (15c.) "grotesque face, ugly mug," possibly from Frankish or another Germanic source (compare Old Saxon grima "face mask," Old English grima "mask, helmet"), from the same root as grim (adj.). With pejorative suffix -azo (from Latin -aceus).
grimace (v.) Look up grimace at
1707, from French grimacer, from grimace "grotesque face" (see grimace (n.)). Related: Grimaced; grimacing.
grimalkin (n.) Look up grimalkin at
name given to a cat, 1620s, as in, or from, Shakespeare's Gray-Malkin, in "Macbeth" (1605), hence any cat, especially an old she-cat; from gray (adj.) + Malkin, diminutive of fem. proper name Matilda or Maud.
grime (n.) Look up grime at
1580s, of uncertain origin, probably alteration of Middle English grim "dirt, filth" (early 14c.), from Middle Low German greme "dirt" or another Low German source, from Proto-Germanic *grim- "to smear" (source also of Flemish grijm, Middle Dutch grime "soot, mask"), from PIE root *ghrei- "to rub" (see chrism). The verb was Middle English grymen (mid-15c.) but largely was replaced early 16c. by begrime.
grimly (adv.) Look up grimly at
Old English grimlice; see grim (adj.) + -ly (2). Similar formation in Middle Dutch grimmelijc, Old Norse grimmligr.
grimness (n.) Look up grimness at
Old English grimnes "ferocity, cruelty;" see grim (adj.) + -ness.
grimoire (n.) Look up grimoire at
magician's manual for invoking demons, 1849, from French grimoire, altered from grammaire "incantation; grammar" (see grammar). Also compare gramary, glamour.
grimy (adj.) Look up grimy at
1610s, from grime + -y (2). "App[arently] not in literary use during the 18th c." [OED]. Related: Griminess.
grin (v.) Look up grin at
Old English grennian "show the teeth" (in pain or anger), common Germanic (cognates: Old Norse grenja "to howl," grina "to grin;" Dutch grienen "to whine;" German greinen "to cry"), from PIE root *ghrei- "be open." Sense of "bare the teeth in a broad smile" is late 15c., perhaps via the notion of "forced or unnatural smile." Related: Grinned; grinning.
grin (n.) Look up grin at
1630s, from grin (v.).
Grinch (n.) Look up Grinch at
"spoilsport;" all usages trace to Dr. Seuss's 1957 book "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Kipling used grinching (1892) in reference to a harsh, grating noise; and Grinch had been used as the surname of severe characters in fiction since at least 1903.
grind (v.) Look up grind at
Old English grindan "to rub together, crush into powder, grate, scrape," forgrindan "destroy by crushing" (class III strong verb; past tense grand, past participle grunden), from Proto-Germanic *grindanan (source also of Dutch grenden), related to ground, from PIE *ghrendh- "to grind" (source also of Latin frendere "to gnash the teeth," Greek khondros "corn, grain," Lithuanian grendu "to scrape, scratch"). Meaning "to make smooth or sharp by friction" is from c. 1300. Most other Germanic languages use a verb cognate with Latin molere (compare Dutch malen, Old Norse mala, German mahlen).
grind (n.) Look up grind at
late Old English, "the gnashing of teeth;" c. 1200, "the act of chewing or grinding," from grind (v.). The sense "steady, hard, tedious work" first recorded 1851 in college student slang (but compare gerund-grinder, 1710); the meaning "hard-working student, one who studies with dogged application" is American English slang from 1864. Slang meaning "sexual intercourse" is by 1893.
grinder (n.) Look up grinder at
Old English grindere "one who grinds (grain);" agent noun from grind (v.). Meaning "molar tooth" is late 14c. (Old English had grindetoð). Meaning "machine for milling" is from 1660s; of persons, from late 15c. "Large sandwich" sense is from 1954, American English, though the exact signification is uncertain (perhaps from the amount of chewing required to eat one).
grinding (adj.) Look up grinding at
Old English, past participle adjective from grind (v.). Meaning "oppressive, burdensome" is from 1580s. The verbal noun is from mid-14c.
grindstone (n.) Look up grindstone at
early 13c. "millstone," from grind (v.) in sense of "sharpen" + stone (n.); meaning "revolving stone disc used for sharpening, etc." is from c. 1400. Phrase nose to the grindstone in use by 1530s; originally to get control of another and treat him harshly:
This Text holdeth their noses so hard to the grindstone, that it clean disfigureth their Faces. [John Frith, "Mirror to know Thyself," 1532]
The phrase's main modern (reflexive) sense of "working hard" is from 1828.
gringo (n.) Look up gringo at
term for a European or Anglo-American, 1847, from American Spanish gringo "foreigner," from Spanish gringo "foreign speech, unintelligible talk, gibberish," perhaps ultimately from griego "Greek." The "Diccionario Castellano" (1787) says gringo was used in Malaga for "anyone who spoke Spanish badly," and in Madrid for "the Irish." Hence the American Spanish verb engringarse "to act like a foreigner."
griot (n.) Look up griot at
northwest African poet/performer, 1820, from French griot (17c.), which is of unknown origin.
grip (v.) Look up grip at
Old English grippan "to grip, seize, obtain" (class I strong verb; past tense grap, past participle gripen), from West Germanic *gripjan (source also of Old High German gripfen "to rob," Old English gripan "to seize;" see gripe (v.)). Related: Gripped; gripping. French gripper "to seize," griffe "claw" are Germanic loan-words.
grip (n.) Look up grip at
c. 1200, "act of grasping or seizing; power or ability to grip," fusion of Old English gripe "grasp, clutch" and gripa "handful, sheaf" (see grip (v.)). Figurative use from mid-15c. Meaning "a handshake" (especially one of a secret society) is from 1785. Meaning "that by which anything is grasped" is from 1867. Meaning "stage hand" is from 1888, from their work shifting scenery.
gripe (v.) Look up gripe at
c. 1200, "to clutch, seize firmly," from Old English gripan "grasp at, lay hold, attack, take, seek to get hold of," from Proto-Germanic *gripan (source also of Old Saxon gripan, Old Norse gripa, Dutch grijpen, Gothic greipan, Old High German grifan, German greifen "to seize"), from PIE root *ghreib- "to grip" (source also of Lithuanian griebiu "to seize"). Figurative sense of "complain, grouse" is first attested 1932, probably from earlier meaning "produce a gripping pain in the bowels" (c. 1600; compare bellyache). Related: Griped; griping.
gripe (n.) Look up gripe at
late 14c., "a fast hold, clutch, grasp," from gripe (v.). From c. 1600 as "cramp, pain in the bowels" (earlier of pangs of grief, etc., 1540s). Figurative sense of "a complaint" is by 1934.
grippe (n.) Look up grippe at
"epidemic influenza," 1776, probably from French grippe "influenza," originally "seizure," verbal noun from gripper "to grasp, hook," from Frankish or another Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *gripanan (see grip (v.), gripe (v.)). Supposedly in reference to constriction of the throat felt by sufferers; the word spread through European languages after the influenza epidemic during the Russian occupation of Prussia in the Seven Years' War (c. 1760), and Russian chirpu, said to be imitative of the sound of the cough, is sometimes said to be the origin or inspiration for the word.
gripping (adj.) Look up gripping at
"grasping the emotions," 1896, figurative use of present participle adjective from grip (v.).
grisaille (n.) Look up grisaille at
painting technique using gray tints, 1848, from French grisaille (17c.), from gris "gray" (12c.), which is from Frankish *gris or some other Germanic source (cognates: Dutch grijs, Old High German gris; see gray (adj.)).
Griselda Look up Griselda at
fem. proper name, from Italian, from German Grishilda, from Old High German grisja hilda, literally "gray battle-maid" (see gray (adj.) + Hilda). The English form, Grisilde, provided Chaucer's Grizel, the name of the meek, patient wife in the Clerk's Tale, the story and the name both from Boccaccio.
grisette (n.) Look up grisette at
c. 1700, "gray woolen fabric," from French grisette, diminutive of gris "grey," which is from Frankish or some other Germanic source (see grey (adj.)). From 1723 as "young French working girl," especially a shopgirl or seamstress, on the notion of wearing clothing made from such fabric; "commonly applied by foreigners in Paris to the young women of this class who are free in their manners on the streets and in the shops" [Century Dictionary].
grisly (adj.) Look up grisly at
Old English grislic (in compounds) "horrible, dreadful," from root of grisan "to shudder, fear," a general Germanic word (cognates: Old Frisian grislik "horrible," Middle Dutch grisen "to shudder," Dutch griezelen, German grausen "to shudder, fear," Old High German grisenlik "horrible;" of unknown origin; Watkins connects it with the PIE root *ghrei- "to rub," on notion of "to grate on the mind" (see chrism). See also gruesome, to which it probably is connected in some way. Related: Grisliness.
grist (n.) Look up grist at
Old English grist "action of grinding; grain to be ground," perhaps related to grindan "to grind" (see grind (v.)), though OED calls this connection "difficult." Meaning "wheat which is to be ground" is early 15c., as is the figurative extension from this sense.
grist-mill (n.) Look up grist-mill at
also gristmill, c. 1600, from grist (n.) in the sense "amount ground at one time," hence "grain carried to the mill by the owner for grinding at one time," + mill (n.).
gristle (n.) Look up gristle at
Old English gristle "cartilage," related to grost "gristle," from a common West Germanic word (cognates: Old Frisian and Middle Low German gristel, Old High German crostila, Middle High German gruschel) of obscure origin.
grit (n.) Look up grit at
Old English greot "sand, dust, earth, gravel," from Proto-Germanic *greutan "tiny particles of crushed rock" (source also of Old Saxon griot, Old Frisian gret, Old Norse grjot "rock, stone," German Grieß "grit, sand"), from PIE *ghreu- "rub, grind" (source also of Lithuanian grudas "corn, kernel," Old Church Slavonic gruda "clod"). Sense of "pluck, spirit, firmness of mind" first recorded American English, 1808.
If he hadn't a had the clear grit in him, and showed teeth and claws, they'd a nullified him so, you wouldn't have see'd a grease spot of him no more. [Thomas Chandler Haliburton, "Sam Slick in England," 1843]
grit (v.) Look up grit at
"make a grating sound," 1762, probably from grit (n.). Meaning "to grate, grind" is from 1797. Related: Gritted; gritting.
grits (n.) Look up grits at
plural of grit "coarsely ground grain," Old English grytt (plural grytta) "coarse meal, groats, grits," from Proto-Germanic *grutja-, from the same root as grit (n.), the two words having influenced one another in sound development.

In American English, corn-based grits and hominy (q.v.) were used interchangeably in Colonial times. Later, hominy meant whole kernels that had been skinned but not ground, but in the U.S. South, hominy meant skinned kernels that could be ground coarsely to make grits. In New Orleans, whole kernels are big hominy and ground kernels little hominy.
gritty (adj.) Look up gritty at
1590s, "resembling or containing sand or grit," from grit (n.) + -y (2). In sense of "unpleasant" (of literature, etc.), from 1882, in reference to the sensation of eating gritty bread. Meaning "plucky, spirited, courageous and resolute" is from 1847. Related: Grittily; grittiness.
grizzle (adj.) Look up grizzle at
"gray-colored," mid-14c., from Old French grisel "gray" (see grizzled) which also meant "gray-haired old man; gray horse" (senses recorded in Middle English from mid-14c.). The verb, "to make gray," is attested from 1740.