early 13c., "hardship, suffering, pain, bodily affliction," from Old French grief "wrong, grievance, injustice, misfortune, calamity" (13c.), from grever "afflict, burden, oppress," from Latin gravare "make heavy; cause grief," from gravis "weighty" (from PIE root *gwere- (1) "heavy"). Meaning "mental pain, sorrow" is from c. 1300. Good grief as an exclamation of surprise, dismay, etc., is from 1912.
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