1. Causing grief, pain, or anguish: a grievous loss.
2. Serious or dire; grave: a grievous crime.
[Anglo-Norman grevous, from grever, to harm, aggrieve, from Latin gravāre, to burden; see GRIEVE.]
Usage Note: The pronunciation of grievous with three syllables as (grēvē-əs), written as though there were an extra i in the spelling of the word, is commonly heard but is roundly criticized as a mispronunciation. Ninety percent of the Usage Panel in 2005 found the three-syllable pronunciation to be unacceptable.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.