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Related to grimness: Reemerge, take advantage, misattributed

hang on like grim death

To clutch something very tightly, usually to prevent one from 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

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 we had of our father.
See also: kind, of, paint, picture

Grim Reaper

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

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

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

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

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
References in classic literature ?
Ranged against the wall were six or eight stiff, high-backed chairs, and they partook so strongly of the general grimness that one would much rather have sat on the floor than incurred the smallest obligation to any of them.
Say what you like about the grimness of life Up North, but we certainly have better ingredients.
One delegate agreed, adding that any place with the suffix "side" usually conjured up pictures of northern grimness - as in Deeside, Humberside, Clydeside, Tyneside, Wearside and Merseyside.
What does help CSI:NY is its look, a grainy film noir feel conveying the grimness and hustle and bustle of one of the world's greatest cities.
Yet, behind all this grimness, Gauthier (pronounced Go-shay) barely conceals a genuine affection for her native state, while her disarming love songs, delivered in a slightly smoky voice, stand as poetry.
But we could have hoped that ``Sylvia'' might have buoyed its grimness with more variety and imagination.
Let's hope so, because the grimness continues tonight with joke shop proprietor Lance and his under-thecounter arm transplant.
A strong wind and bursts of heavy rain added to the grimness of the game, inwhich Bolton's star signing Youri Djorkaeff made a muted debut.
In a time when air travel now approaches bus travel in levels of grimness and banality, the terminal is a marvellous reminder of a more civilized, leisurely era, when people dressed up to fly and had proper meals from menus.
But there is more humor than grimness in Thwaite's poetry, and at his best he can be self-critically witty, as in the dialogue called "Great Foreign Writer Visits Age-Old Temple, Greeted by Venerable Abbess: 1955.
And the disks don't have to be grim; it's just in the nature of the thriller genre that grimness is what we focus on.
Jimmy McGovern's Bafta-winning series of carefully studied grimness.
Elboware one of those bands who specialise in music that has a uniquely northern grimness about it, while managing to somehow make drinking in working men's clubs, betting on horses and working in a crane sound quite romantic.
Patrick Stewart delivers the kind of commanding performance you would expect from such a fine actor, while RSC newcomer Gale is a sweet and funny Miranda, the perfect antidote to the grimness all around.
Oh, God, yes," he says in that unmistakable voice after lamenting the grimness of that night's news - e coli and hospital ward closures topped off by a vile weather forecast.