Definition of


  1. (adj, all) shockingly repellent; inspiring horror
    the grim aftermath of the bombing
    the grim task of burying the victims
    a grisly murder
    gruesome evidence of human sacrifice
    macabre tales of war and plague in the Middle ages
    macabre tortures conceived by madmen

via WordNet, Princeton University

Synonyms of Macabre

ghastly, grim, grisly, gruesome, sick

Origin of the word Macabre

  1. c.1430, from O.Fr. (danse) Macabr? "(dance) of Death" (1376), probably a translation of M.L. (Chorea) Machab?orum, lit. "dance of the Maccabees" (leaders of the Jewish revolt against Syro-Hellenes, see Maccabees). The association with the dance of death seems to be via vivid descriptions of the martyrdom of the Maccabees in the Apocryphal books. The abstracted sen… more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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