- The definition of macabre is something gruesome, shocking or horrifying.
An example of macabre is a series of bloody murders committed by a serial killer.
A macabre image.
Origin of macabreFrench ; from Old French (danse) Macabré, (dance) of death, probably altered ; from Medieval Latin (Chorea) Machabaeorum, literally , dance of the Maccabees (see Maccabees): semantic connection obscure
- Upsetting or horrifying by association with death or injury; gruesome: “When Lucia describes [the saints'] torments, Jo sees a chorus of macabre dolls, most of them missing parts” (Nancy Reisman). See Synonyms at ghastly.
- Constituting or including a representation of death.
Origin of macabreUltimately from Old French (Danse) Macabré, (dance) of death, perhaps from alteration of Macabe, Maccabee, from Latin Maccabaeus, from Greek Makkabios.
(comparative more macabre, superlative most macabre)
From French macabre, whose etymology is uncertain.
Possibly from Amharic "maqaber" for grave, but this etymology remains rejected by most linguistics.