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Related to grimmest: grimiest
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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, to

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, to

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 ?
While the district was able to forestall cuts in the current year by tapping reserves and curbing spending, the budget approved Monday is one of the grimmest in memory.
These figures were its grimmest since records began.
Grimmest of many fishery assessments is the recent forecast that 100 percent of the world's fisheries will be "collapsed" to beneath commercial viability by 2048.
Together the new friends return to the Town of Grim to show even the Great Grim himself and the Guards of the Grimmest Way that life is better when happiness, joy, and wonder are rightfully celebrated.
This near-miracle took commitment to bipartisanship, if not the grimmest of determination, by adherents of both parties, and Hilley was in the midst of it all.
The International Crisis Group, an advocacy organization aiming to prevent and resolve deadly conflict, called July 2006 "the grimmest month for conflict prevention around the world in three years." As areas of concern, the Brussels, Belgium-based group cited the conflicts between Israel and Hezbollah in south Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza; a 40-percent increase in major attacks in Baghdad, according to a U.S.
Syria markets the government-owned Al-Sharq ("The East") medium malt, while Lebanon's Almaza advertises itself with the unbeatable slogan "One People, One Beer." But the arrival of Hamas brew reminds us of one encouraging tendency in the Middle East: the ability to make a buck during the grimmest of times.
Even though the IBA work mitigates the grimmest aspects of Berlin, it scarcely seems sensible to make the physical pattern of West Berlin one for the world in general.
Yet perhaps the grimmest implication of Eye/Machine is left unspoken, if not unseen.
Perhaps the grimmest foreshadowing of a post-FTAA world is seen in the unspeakable trade of sex slave immigrants--a growing evil already within our borders.
One of the grimmest aspects of the spill's effect on Cordova has been the state of the once highly coveted commercial fishing permits.
The situation in Iraq has reached its grimmest point since U.S.
When president Bush announced during this year's State of the Union speech two major initiatives to fight AIDS and poverty" in poor countries in and outside Africa, the promise of such bold proposals from the world's wealthiest nation surely meant a respite for thousands who live and toil in this grimmest of realities.
The problem probably goes back to the French Revolution, whose bourgeois leaders sought to stamp out popular festivities--with all their drunkenness, gluttony, and supposedly lewd behavior--and replace them with carefully orchestrated ceremonies in honor of "Reason" or "the Supreme Being." It was in that revolution, with men like Robespierre, that the Leninist ideal of the unsmiling "professional revolutionary" was born--a type every bit as hostile to spontaneity and self-indulgence as the grimmest of the old Calvinist merchant class.
One of the most famous and grimmest of these is Mathias Grunewald's Isenheim Altarpiece of 1515, painted for a monastic church attached to a hospice for victims of skin diseases.