Basic+ Word of the Day: grave

grave (noun, adjective) LISTEN

A grave is a place, usually in the ground, in which a dead body is buried.

  • William visited his mother's grave on her birthday.
  • Many of the Titanic passengers went to a watery grave.

Grave also means ‘serious,’ ‘solemn’ or ‘dangerous.’

  • When Ted saw the grave expression on his mother's face, he knew something was wrong.
  • Alice couldn't sleep because of all the grave thoughts that went through her mind.
  • The diplomats worked hard to resolve the grave international crisis.

Common uses

make someone turn over in his grave: to do something that would greatly offend someone who is dead. Example: “If Jane Austen saw that awful version of Pride and Prejudice, she would turn over in her grave.”

have one foot in the grave: to be so ill or old that death is expected soon. Example: “Right after Joe’s surgery, he looked like he had one foot in the grave.”

Related words

graveyard: cemetery. Example: “There is a graveyard behind the old church.”

In pop culture

A graveyard shift is a work shift that goes from late night to early morning. For example, nurses may work a graveyard shift. In this Stephen King horror movie, Graveyard Shift, it takes on a more literal meaning. Watch the trailer, if you dare.

There are other meanings of grave.

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