[OE] Middle English had a verb grise ‘be terrified’, which points back via an unrecorded Old English *grīsan to a West Germanic *grīdenoting ‘fear, terror’, from which grisly would have been formed. Dutch has the parallel formation grijzelijk. In 1900, the Oxford English Dictionary described grisly as ‘now only arch and lit’, but since then its fortunes have recovered strongly, and it is now firmly part of the general language.

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.

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  • Grisly — Gris ly, a. [OE, grisly, grislich, AS. grislic, gryslic, fr. gr?san to shudder; cf. OD. grijselick horrible, OHG. grisenl?ch, and also AS. gre?san to frighten, and E. gruesome.] Frightful; horrible; dreadful; harsh; as, grisly locks; a grisly… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • grisly — index repulsive Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • grisly — (adj.) O.E. grislic horrible, dreadful, from root of grisan to shudder, fear (Cf. O.Fris. grislik horrible, M.Du. grisen to shudder, Du. griezelen, Ger. grausen to shudder, fear, O.H.G. grisenlik horrible ), of unknown origin; Watkins connects it …   Etymology dictionary

  • grisly — *ghastly, gruesome, macabre, grim, lurid Analogous words: horrific, *horrible, horrendous, horrid: uncanny, eerie, *weird …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • grisly — [adj] horrifying abominable, appalling, awful, blood stained, bloody, disgusting, dreadful, eerie, frightful, ghastly, grim, grody*, gross*, gruesome, hideous, horrible, horrid, lurid, macabre, sanguine, shocking, sick, sickening, terrible,… …   New thesaurus

  • grisly — ► ADJECTIVE (grislier, grisliest) ▪ causing horror or revulsion. DERIVATIVES grisliness noun. ORIGIN Old English …   English terms dictionary

  • grisly — [griz′lē] adj. grislier, grisliest [ME grislich < OE grislic (akin to OFris grislyk) < base of a grisan, to shudder with fear, prob. < IE * ghrei : see GRIME] terrifying; horrible; ghastly grisliness n …   English World dictionary

  • grisly — [ grɪzli] adjective (grislier, grisliest) causing horror or revulsion. Derivatives grisliness noun Origin OE grislic terrifying , of Gmc origin. Usage Grisly and grizzly are often confused …   English new terms dictionary

  • grisly — adjective (grislier; est) Etymology: Middle English, from Old English grislic, from gris (akin to Old English āgrīsan to fear); akin to Old High German grīsenlīh terrible Date: 12th century 1. inspiring horror or intense fear < houses that were… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • grisly — grisly1 grisliness, n. /griz lee/, adj., grislier, grisliest. 1. causing a shudder or feeling of horror; horrible; gruesome: a grisly murder. 2. formidable; grim: a grisly countenance. [bef. 1150; ME; OE grislic horrible; c. OHG grisenlih]… …   Universalium

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