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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Grief \Grief\ (gr[=e]f), n. [OE. grief, gref, OF. grief, gref, F. grief, L. gravis heavy; akin to Gr. bary`s, Skr. guru, Goth. ka['u]rus. Cf. Barometer, Grave, a., Grieve, Gooroo.] 1. Pain of mind on account of something in the past; mental suffering arising from any cause, as misfortune, loss of friends, misconduct of one's self or others, etc.; sorrow; sadness. [1913 Webster] The mother was so afflicted at the loss of a fine boy, . . . that she died for grief of it. --Addison. [1913 Webster] 2. Cause of sorrow or pain; that which afficts or distresses; trial; grievance. [1913 Webster] Be factious for redress of all these griefs. --Shak. [1913 Webster] 3. Physical pain, or a cause of it; malady. [R.] [1913 Webster] This grief (cancerous ulcers) hastened the end of that famous mathematician, Mr. Harriot. --Wood. [1913 Webster] To come to grief, to meet with calamity, accident, defeat, ruin, etc., causing grief; to turn out badly. [Colloq.] Syn: Affiction; sorrow; distress; sadness; trial; grievance. Usage: Grief, Sorrow, Sadness. Sorrow is the generic term; grief is sorrow for some definite cause -- one which commenced, at least, in the past; sadness is applied to a permanent mood of the mind. Sorrow is transient in many cases; but the grief of a mother for the loss of a favorite child too often turns into habitual sadness. "Grief is sometimes considered as synonymous with sorrow; and in this case we speak of the transports of grief. At other times it expresses more silent, deep, and painful affections, such as are inspired by domestic calamities, particularly by the loss of friends and relatives, or by the distress, either of body or mind, experienced by those whom we love and value." --Cogan. See Affliction. [1913 Webster]