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grim (adj.)

Old English grimm "fierce, cruel, savage; severe, dire, painful," from Proto-Germanic *grimma- (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 *ghremno- "angry," which is 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.)

"spectre, bogey, haunting spirit," 1620s, from grim (adj.).

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Definitions of grim from WordNet

grim (adj.)
filled with melancholy and despondency;
took a grim view of the economy
Synonyms: gloomy / blue / depressed / dispirited / down / downcast / downhearted / down in the mouth / low / low-spirited
grim (adj.)
not to be placated or appeased or moved by entreaty;
grim necessity
grim determination
grim (adj.)
shockingly repellent; inspiring horror;
the grim task of burying the victims
the grim aftermath of the bombing
Synonyms: ghastly / grisly / gruesome / macabre / sick
grim (adj.)
harshly ironic or sinister;
a grim joke
grim laughter
Synonyms: black / mordant
grim (adj.)
harshly uninviting or formidable in manner or appearance; "undoubtedly the grimmest part of him was his iron claw"- J.M.Barrie;
a grim man loving duty more than humanity
Synonyms: dour / forbidding
grim (adj.)
causing dejection;
grim rainy weather
Synonyms: blue / dark / dingy / disconsolate / dismal / gloomy / sorry / drab / drear / dreary
From wordnet.princeton.edu