grim

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Grim Reaper

Death, as personified by a cloaked man or skeleton carrying a scythe. She's been in three really terrible car accidents but has miraculously avoided the Grim Reaper.
See also: grim, reaper

hang on like grim death

To clutch something very tightly, usually to avoid falling. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. After the ladder tipped over, I hung on like grim death so that I didn't fall off the roof.
See also: death, grim, hang, like, on

hang on to (someone or something) like grim death

To clutch someone or something very tightly, usually to avoid falling. After the ladder tipped over, I hung on to the roof like grim death so that I didn't fall.
See also: death, grim, hang, like, on

hold on to (someone or something) like grim death

To clutch someone or something very tightly, usually to avoid falling. After the ladder tipped over, I held on to the roof like grim death so that I didn't fall.
See also: death, grim, hold, like, on

it's grim up north

cliché An adage that life in Northern England is greatly inferior to that in the South. A: "The company wants me to relocate to the branch in Middlesbrough, but I'm not sure I want to go." B: "Can't say I blame you. It's grim up north."
See also: grim, north, up

like grim death

With a very tight, intense, and determined grip. After the ladder tipped over, I hung onto the edge of the roof like grim death. Even on the sheerest of cliff faces, there are still small animals and bits of vegetation clung like grim death.
See also: death, grim, like

paint a (some kind of) picture of (something)

To give an elaborate or detailed description of something that portrays it in a specific way. The board meeting painted a pretty grim picture of the company's future. Jonathan always paints an idyllic picture of our childhood, glossing over the bad memories of our father.
See also: kind, of, paint, picture
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

grim reaper

Fig. death. I think I have a few years to go yet before the grim reaper pays me a call.
See also: grim, reaper
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

like grim death

mainly BRITISH
If you hold onto something like grim death, you hold onto it very tightly. I clung to the chain like grim death.
See also: death, grim, like

the Grim Reaper

The Grim Reaper is an imaginary character who represents death. He looks like a skeleton, wears a long, black cloak with a hood, and carries a scythe (= tool for cutting grass). By giving away assets while still alive, inheritance tax can be avoided entirely by the time the Grim Reaper calls. They were sitting around, waiting for the Grim Reaper.
See also: grim, reaper
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

like (or for) grim death

with intense determination.
1989 Jonathan Gash Jade Woman Here and there a greenish scumble of vegetation hung on for grim death.
See also: death, grim, like

the Grim Reaper

a personification of death in the form of a cloaked skeleton wielding a large scythe.
See also: grim, reaper
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

hang on/hold on (to somebody/something) like grim ˈdeath

hold somebody/something very tightly, usually because you are afraid or determined not to let go: As the horse galloped off, you could see poor Sarah hanging on like grim death.The robbers tried to steal my bag, but I held on to it like grim death.
The word grim (= very serious or unpleasant) is often used to describe death.
See also: death, grim, hang, hold, like, on
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

grim reaper, the

Death. This expression is actually a combination of the older grim death, which dates from about 1600, and the artistic depiction of death with a scythe, which began somewhat later. The first appeared in a play by Philip Massinger (1583–1640), The Roman Actor, and also in John Milton’s Paradise Lost (“Before mine eyes in opposition sits Grim Death, my son and foe”). The second appeared in a song from “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” and in Longfellow’s poem, “The Reaper and the Flowers” (“There is a Reaper whose name is Death, and, with his sickle keen”), as well as in earlier but more obscure sources.
See also: grim
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Mr Grimmer said more people were being trained in mental health first aid in the oil industry, which is positive, but it's mostly at middle management level.
In addition, Pia Fjellander will report to Grimmer and continue to be responsible for managing Bong's financial reporting and financing activities as group financial manager.
COVENTRY CITY: Burge, Grimmer, Willis, Hyam, Mason, Thomas, Bayliss, Doyle, Shipley (Allassani, 69), Andreu (Chaplin, 56), Clarke-Harris (Bakayoko, 77).
Aberdeen-born Grimmer, who has been capped by Scotland Under-21s, said: "It is easy to forget he might be England's No.1 so that is the cherry on top to beat him.
The head of steam disappeared in an instant, however, as a ball from Tom Bayliss found Grimmer, who cut inside and beat Jack Butland.
Grimmer hit the winner with 22 minutes left when his low effort flew past Jack Butland.
"My mother and grandmother were both born and raised in Savannah, Ga.,"says Grimmer, "I threw a party one night using my grandmother's sauce recipe, but tweaked it to be my own.
[10.] Kredo T, Machingaidze S, Louw Q, Young T, Grimmer K.
Mr Grimmer was knifed moments after Pierce, of Cearns Road, Oxton, had been punched to the ground by a man he had headbutted during an argument.
Grimmer brings a wealth of experience within the hospitality industry with over 28 years' experience working with global hotel chains across China, Malaysia, Australia and Tonga.
Grimmer said: "I don't think there's a bigger smile in the whole of the UK.
Yes to, Inc.: welcomed Neil Grimmer, co-founder and CEO of organic kids nutrition company Plum Organics, to the board of directors.
Derwent Street School, North Ormesby 1956 AILEEN Grimmer wonders how many girls will recognise themselves in this classic photograph.
...on the council decision to axe Pype Hayes' bonfire Every year in every way it is getting grimmer and grimmer.