- causing great horror; horribly repugnant; grisly: the site of a gruesome murder.
- full of or causing problems; distressing: a gruesome day at the office.
- an archaic or US spelling of
- inspiring repugnance and horror; ghastly
1560s, with gruen “feel horror, shudder” (c.1300); not recorded in Old English or Norse, possibly from Middle Dutch gruwen or Middle Low German gruwen “shudder with fear” (cf. German grausam “cruel”), or from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish grusom “cruel,” grue “to dread,” though others hold that these are Low German loan-words). One of the many Scottish words popularized in England by Scott’s novels.(1) + Middle English