Commonly Confused Words
grisly/ gristly/ grizzly
Blood, guts, and man-eaters, oh my! Faint of heart turn back now! Grisly means relating to horror or disgust, gristly means related to gristle or cartilage, and grizzly is a big ol' bear. That can eat you.
Grisly describes blood and guts, horror movie fodder, something totally repulsive. It shows up in these blood-curdling examples:
The grisly massacre — some bodies were grotesquely mutilated and defiled — shocked the country and made global headlines. (Time)
Television video showed a heavily damaged building and a grisly scene inside, with clothing and prayer mats scattered across a blood-splattered floor. (New York Times)
Gristly is gross, too, but it means related to gristle or cartilage, that yucky hard stuff in a chicken leg, for example, or the tough chewy part in any meat. Or person. Here are some gristly examples to gnaw on:
In a ham sandwich is a cold, pink punch in the face, an angry thing marbled with gristly neglect. (Guardian)
This is surrounded by a sheath of connective tissue, at first merely membranous, later becoming cartilaginous or gristly. (John Mason Tyler)
Grizzly refers to a species of brown bear found in North America. Grizzly can also refer to the color gray or gray hair: Grizzlies get their name from the white hairs that grow in their brown coats, making them look grizzled (streaked with gray).
He makes a face like a threatened grizzly bear: mouth wide open, snout muscles flexed, teeth bared. (New York Times)
All in all, if you're going out on a bear hunt, avoid grisly, gristly, and even grizzly bears. Hunt for teddy bears instead.
Grisly means disgusting and bloody, absolutely repulsive and horrible. There’s a wonderfully creepy movie about a man who suffers a grisly death at the hands of the grizzly bears he was studying. Continue reading...
Gristly means rubbery or full of cartilage. The hardest part of your trip to rural China might be graciously accepting and attempting to chew the gristly meat your hosts offer you. Continue reading...
A grizzly is a large North American species of bear also known as a silvertip bear. When you go camping and hiking in the western United States, park rangers might teach you what to do if you see a grizzly. Continue reading...