come to grief

come to grief


  • to have an accident or suffer disaster.
  • the failure of something.
  • to experience misfortune or failure.
  • to end in disaster.
  • to be destroyed and ruined.
  • to foretell tragedy.

Examples in Sentences

  1. Their relationship came to grief following their disastrous vacation.
  2. His attempts at creating a business came to grief following a bad investment.
  3. The ship and its crew came to grief after running aground several miles offshore.
  4. Her entire family felt that she would come to grief if she pushed the idea of marriage too quickly.
  5. It would be a great pity to see all that sincere work come to grief.


The etymology of this idiom is difficult to ascertain, but it does appear that the many phrases that have made use of it might have come by way of a general consensus, as “come to grief” was at one time one of the common idioms. This idiom is still one that carries a deep and emotional meaning for native English speakers, though it might be difficult for ESL students to comprehend. The meaning of this idiom became a common locution in the 19th century as many began to find a use for it in speech, writing, and various forms of entertainment. As of today, it is still a popular idiom for those who enjoy using it for the sake of prose.

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