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[grit] /grɪt/
abrasive particles or granules, as of sand or other small, coarse impurities found in the air, food, water, etc.
firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck:
She has a reputation for grit and common sense.
a coarse-grained siliceous rock, usually with sharp, angular grains.
British. gravel.
sand or other fine grainy particles eaten by fowl to aid in digestion.
verb (used with object), gritted, gritting.
to cause to grind or grate together.
verb (used without object), gritted, gritting.
to make a scratchy or slightly grating sound, as of sand being walked on; grate.
grit one's teeth, to show tenseness, anger, or determination by or as if by clamping or grinding the teeth together.
Origin of grit
before 1000; Middle English gret, griet, grit, Old English grēot; cognate with German Griess, Old Norse grjōt pebble, boulder; see grits
Related forms
gritless, adjective
gritter, noun
2. resolution, fortitude, courage. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for gritting
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When Mrs. Tregennis looked up she saw that his fingers were tightly clenched and that he was gritting his teeth.

    Tommy Tregennis Mary Elizabeth Phillips
  • "The feeling is coming back, my boy," said the Phoenix, gritting its beak.

    David and the Phoenix Edward Ormondroyd
  • And then, with a gritting oath: "Oh, damn this cursed chilling!"

    The Master of Appleby Francis Lynde
  • Colon turned on the prisoner with a black face, and gritting teeth.

    Fred Fenton on the Crew Allen Chapman
  • gritting his teeth, he yanked hard on the line, then summoned his strength to hang on.

  • gritting his teeth on the bit of his pipe, Russ cursed soundlessly.

    Empire Clifford Donald Simak
  • Nackerson was gritting his teeth and summoning all his grit to the fore, in order to keep his lower limbs moving.

British Dictionary definitions for gritting


  1. the spreading of grit on road surfaces to render them less slippery for vehicles during icy weather
  2. (as modifier): gritting lorries


small hard particles of sand, earth, stone, etc
Also called gritstone. any coarse sandstone that can be used as a grindstone or millstone
the texture or grain of stone
indomitable courage, toughness, or resolution
(engineering) an arbitrary measure of the size of abrasive particles used in a grinding wheel or other abrasive process
verb grits, gritting, gritted
to clench or grind together (two objects, esp the teeth)
to cover (a surface, such as icy roads) with grit
Derived Forms
gritless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English grēot; related to Old Norse grjōt pebble, Old High German grioz; see great, groats, gruel


noun, adjective (Canadian)
an informal word for Liberal
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
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Word Origin and History for gritting



Old English greot "sand, dust, earth, gravel," from Proto-Germanic *greutan "tiny particles of crushed rock" (cf. Old Saxon griot, Old Frisian gret, Old Norse grjot "rock, stone," German Grieß "grit, sand"), from PIE *ghreu- "rub, grind" (cf. Lithuanian grudas "corn, kernel," Old Church Slavonic gruda "clod"). Sense of "pluck, spirit" first recorded American English, 1808.


"make a grating sound," 1762, probably from grit (n.). Related: Gritted; gritting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for gritting



  1. Courage; fortitude and stamina (1825+)
  2. The roadpath beside a railroad track (1950s+ Railroad)
  3. (also grits)Food (1930s+ Black)
  4. A Southerner: He's a hotshot down here among the grits. A good Yankee guard would eat him alive (1960s+)
  5. (also Grit)Awhite person: It's a God's wonder some Grit didn't kill us (1960s+ Black)


To eat (1930s+ Black)

Related Terms

hit the dirt

[food senses at least partially fr hominy grits, although grit was British military slang for ''food'' in the 1930s; Southern dialect sense probably ironically fr Civil War use of the expression true Yankee grit by Northern soldiers and writers]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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