Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


Fifty lashes is a maximum punishment, inflicted only for the gravest crimes.

Did ever the greatest or the gravest men pretend to any of this kind?

I would make you smile in the midst of your gravest airs, as I used to do.

Such was his own experience that he was beset by the gravest doubts.

To many this would be a personal disaster of the gravest kind.

It was his love that urged him on, his love that overbore his scruples, his gravest apprehensions.

There is another question which deserves our gravest consideration.

I laughed at this offer, but in the gravest way she named me the number 27.

Yet how could she go quietly to her room, when Richard might be in the gravest danger?

Another objection, however, appeared to him to possess the gravest moment.


Old English græf "grave, ditch, cave," from Proto-Germanic *graban (cf. Old Saxon graf, Old Frisian gref, Old High German grab "grave, tomb;" Old Norse gröf "cave," Gothic graba "ditch"), from PIE root *ghrebh- "to dig, to scratch, to scrape" (cf. Old Church Slavonic grobu "grave, tomb"); related to grafan "to dig" (see grave (v.)).

From Middle Ages to 17c., they were temporary, crudely marked repositories from which the bones were removed to ossuaries after some years and the grave used for a fresh burial. "Perpetual graves" became common from c.1650. To make (someone) turn in his grave "behave in some way that would have offended the dead person" is first recorded 1888.