gruesome

\ \ [16] The novels of Sir Walter Scott had an enormous influence in introducing Scotticisms into the general English language, and gruesome is a case in point. It was apparently coined in the 16th century from an earlier verb gruebe terrified’, which was probably of Scandinavian origin. For over 200 years it remained restricted in distribution to Scotland and northern England, but Scott started using it (‘He’s as grave and grewsome an auld Dutchman as e’er I saw’, Old Mortality 1816), immediately ensuring it an entrée into homes all over Britain thanks to Scott’s huge readership. It has never looked back.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • gruesome — grue some, a. Ugly; frightful. Same as {grewsome}. [Scot.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • gruesome — [gro͞o′səm] adj. [< dial. grue, to shudder (< ME gruwen, akin to MHG < IE base * ĝhreu , to grind down > GRIT) + SOME1] causing horror or disgust; grisly gruesomely adv. gruesomeness n …   English World dictionary

  • gruesome — gruesomely, adv. gruesomeness, n. /grooh seuhm/, adj. 1. causing great horror; horribly repugnant; grisly: the site of a gruesome murder. 2. full of or causing problems; distressing: a gruesome day at the office. Also, grewsome. [1560 70; obs.… …   Universalium

  • gruesome — grue|some [ˈgru:səm] adj [Date: 1500 1600; Origin: grue to shake (with fear) (14 19 centuries), from Middle Dutch gruwen] very unpleasant or shocking, and involving someone being killed or badly injured ▪ Police described it as a particularly… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • gruesome — grue|some [ grusəm ] adjective involving or describing death or injury in a very unpleasant way: GRISLY: the gruesome details of how she was murdered The police faced the gruesome task of looking for the body parts. ╾ grue|some|ly adverb …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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