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  1. a fixed frame of bars or the like covering an opening to exclude persons, animals, coarse material, or objects while admitting light, air, or fine material.
  2. Physics. diffraction grating.

Origin of grating1

First recorded in 1605–15; grate1 + -ing1


  1. irritating or unpleasant to one's feelings.
  2. (of a sound or noise) harsh, discordant, or rasping.

Origin of grating2

First recorded in 1555–65; grate2 + -ing2
Related formsgrat·ing·ly, adverb


  1. a frame of metal bars for holding fuel when burning, as in a fireplace, furnace, or stove.
  2. a framework of parallel or crossed bars, used as a partition, guard, cover, or the like; grating.
  3. a fireplace.
verb (used with object), grat·ed, grat·ing.
  1. to furnish with a grate or grates.

Origin of grate1

1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin grāta a grating, variant of crāta, derivative of Latin crāt- (stem of crātis) wickerwork, hurdle; cf. crate
Related formsgrate·less, adjectivegrate·like, adjective


verb (used without object), grat·ed, grat·ing.
  1. to have an irritating or unpleasant effect: His constant chatter grates on my nerves.
  2. to make a sound of, or as if of, rough scraping; rasp.
  3. to sound harshly; jar: to grate on the ear.
  4. to scrape or rub with rough or noisy friction, as one thing on or against another.
verb (used with object), grat·ed, grat·ing.
  1. to reduce to small particles by rubbing against a rough surface or a surface with many sharp-edged openings: to grate a carrot.
  2. to rub together with a harsh, jarring sound: to grate one's teeth.
  3. to irritate or annoy.
  4. Archaic. to wear down or away by rough friction.

Origin of grate2

1375–1425; late Middle English graten < Old French grater < Germanic; compare German kratzen to scratch


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7. vex, gall, nettle, irk, rile, bug.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for grating

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He fumbled for the knob, and it turned with a grating sound.

  • I lay on that grating two months, and bitter months they were to me.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • The slab moved upward an inch or two, grating in its rough grooves.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • The man who lay on the ledge of the grating was even chilled.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • Cornelius trembled with joy, so much so that he was obliged to hold by the grating.

    The Black Tulip

    Alexandre Dumas (Pere)

British Dictionary definitions for grating


  1. Also called: grate a framework of metal bars in the form of a grille set into a wall, pavement, etc, serving as a cover or guard but admitting air and sometimes light
  2. short for diffraction grating


  1. (of sounds) harsh and rasping
  2. annoying; irritating
  1. (often plural) something produced by grating
Derived Formsgratingly, adverb


  1. (tr) to reduce to small shreds by rubbing against a rough or sharp perforated surfaceto grate carrots
  2. to scrape (an object) against something or (objects) together, producing a harsh rasping sound, or (of objects) to scrape with such a sound
  3. (intr; foll by on or upon) to annoy
  1. a harsh rasping sound

Word Origin

C15: from Old French grater to scrape, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German krazzōn


  1. a framework of metal bars for holding fuel in a fireplace, stove, or furnace
  2. a less common word for fireplace
  3. another name for grating 1 (def. 1)
  4. mining a perforated metal screen for grading crushed ore
  1. (tr) to provide with a grate or grates

Word Origin

C14: from Old French grate, from Latin crātis hurdle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for grating


"annoying, irritating," 1560s, figurative use of present participle adjective from grate (v.).



late 14c., "grill for cooking;" early 15c., "iron bars or cagework across a door or windows," from Anglo-Latin (mid-14c.), from Old French grate or directly from Medieval Latin grata "lattice," from Latin cratis "wickerwork, hurdle" (see hurdle). As a verb meaning "to fit with a grate," from mid-15c. Related: Grated; grating.



"to scrape, rub," late 14c. (implied in grated), from Old French grater "to scrape" (Modern French gratter), from Frankish *kratton, from Proto-Germanic *krattojan (cf. Old High German krazzon "to scratch, scrape," German kratzen "to scratch," Swedish kratta, Danish kratte "to rake"), probably of imitative origin. Senses of "sound harshly," and "annoy" are mid-16c. Italian grattare also is from Germanic. Related: Grated; grating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper