verbgrieved, griev·ing, grieves
- To cause to be sorrowful; distress: It grieves me to see you in such pain.
- To mourn or sorrow for: We grieved the death of our pastor.
- Usage Problem To file an official or formal grievance on account of (an actual or perceived injustice).
- Archaic To hurt or harm.
To experience or express grief.
Origin of grieve
Middle English greven from
Old French grever to harm from
Latin gravāre to burden from gravis heavy
; see gwerə-1
in Indo-European roots.
Usage Note: Traditionally, grieve as a transitive verb has meant “to cause to be sorrowful; distress,” with its direct object being the person who is sorrowful or distressed, as in It grieves me to see so many homeless in the city. Later, there developed a sense of grieve in which the direct object is that which causes sorrow or distress, as in She took a week off to attend her father's funeral and grieve his loss. In our 2013 survey, 79 percent of the Usage Panel approved of this usage in this sentence, up from 62 percent in our 1996 survey. More recently, grieve has also come to be used to mean “to file an official or formal grievance.” This extended sense does not find favor with the Usage Panel. In 2013, only 21 percent found its use in this passage acceptable: Saradnik was asked to resign as coach following complaints by several parents. Because Saradnik has grieved his dismissal, school officials aren't commenting. This usage is relatively uncommon outside of the sphere of labor and management disputes.