Word Confusion: Grisly vs Gristly vs Grizzly

Posted September 19, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

I must confess I tend to associate grisly with gristle, and oh man, is that ever tasty on a steak or pork roast! In truth, while grisly and grizzly sound alike, they certainly aren’t spelled alike. And no, Grizzly Adams was a movie and then a TV show, which happened to be about a mountain man catching grizzlies.

Gristly was added 14 November 2016.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Grisly Gristly Grizzly
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

“Severed Hand” courtesy of Live Science

It’s a grisly find.

Black-and-white photo demonstrating the removal of gristle from a heart

“Braised, Stuffed Heart” by Ann Rosener is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Preparing a heart for cooking requires removing the gristly bits and blood vessels.

“Grizzly Bear” courtesy of National Geographic

Part of Grammar:
Adjective Adjective Adjective 1, 2; Noun 3
Plural for noun: grizzlies
Causing horror or disgust Consisting of or full of gristle Adjective:
Gray or gray-haired 1

[Of a child] Inclined to cry fretfully 2

[[Ursus arctos horribilis] An animal of a large race of the brown bear native to North America

The town was shaken by a series of grisly crimes.

It was the most grisly murder I had ever seen.

All that blood…body parts…it was a grisly scene for all of us.

There were a lot of gristly bits of beef.

All the gristly meat explained why it was so cheap.

It’s best to braise gristly meat.

“I love how grizzly his mustache is,” she sighed.

Janice couldn’t take it anymore. She had to get that grizzly mop cut and dyed!

She was such a grizzly baby.

Ahhh, it’s a grizzly! Run!!

Yep, there’s where I want to see grizzlies…at the zoo.

Adjective: grislier, grisliest
Noun: grisliness
Adjective: gristlier, gristliest
Noun: gristle, gristliness
Adjective: grizzlier, grizzliest
Noun: grizzler
Verb, intransitive: grizzle
History of the Word:
Old English grislic meaning terrifying is of Germanic origin and related to the Dutch griezelig. Old English, of unknown origin. 1 Mid-16th century, from grizzle.

2 Unknown origin.

3 Early 19th century, from grizzle.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

“A Rough and Tumble with a Grizzley” by H. Bullock Webster is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.