Grisly or Grizzly?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "Grisly" and "Grizzly"?

"Grisly" and "Grizzly" are easy to confuse. Grisly and grizzly are easy to confuse because they sound so similar (i.e., they are nearly homonyms).
  • "Grisly" means horrible. (It carries the connotation of being gruesome.)
    • The police arrived to a grisly scene.
  • "Grizzly" is a bear from North America.
    • There are around 15,000 grizzly bears (also known as "grizzlies") in Canada.
grisly or grizzly?

More about "Grisly" or "Grizzly"

The words "grisly" and "grizzly" sound similar, but their meanings are quite different.


The adjective "grisly" means "horrible," "shockingly repellent," "terrifying," or "gruesome."

Example sentences with "grisly":
  • In the grisly climax to the South Park episode, the kids try to rescue Chef, but he falls off a bridge into a ravine, where he is impaled on a tree trunk and mauled by wild animals.
  • A convicted killer was today found guilty of a second murder, betrayed by his grisly habit of cutting off his victims' breasts.
  • The police spokesman told the reporters that they had uncovered some grisly clues in the missing-girl case.


The words "grizzly" (used as a noun or an adjective) refers to a powerful brownish-yellow bear found in the uplands of western North America. It can be called either a "grizzly" (plural "grizzlies") or a "grizzly bear." Example sentences with "grizzly":
  • Avoid grizzly bears. If you get caught off guard by a grizzly, and it decides to attack you, shoot it in the heart. If you do not have a gun and you cannot get away, tuck into a tight ball or play dead. However, if the grizzly is intent on you being its next meal, fight back with everything you've got.
  • Pictures of grizzly bears amusing themselves in the river make them seem cute and innocent, but they are extremely dangerous.
  • Many Forest Service employees have laid their jobs on the line to prevent the destruction and fragmentation of the prime habitat for grisly bears.
  • (This should be "grizzly" not "grisly.")
avoid grizzly bears
Avoid grizzly bears or admire from a distance.

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See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What are adjectives? List of easily confused words

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