Origin of grind

before 950; Middle English grinden, Old English grindan; akin to Gothic grinda-, Latin frendere
Related formsgrind·a·ble, adjectivegrind·a·bil·i·ty, noungrind·ing·ly, adverbre·grind, verb, re·ground, re·grind·ing.un·grind·a·ble, adjective

Synonyms for grind

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for grinding

Contemporary Examples of grinding

Historical Examples of grinding

  • He produced the model of an ingenious contrivance for grinding corn.

    Biographical Sketches

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • His dreams were all of escape from this grinding, harsh farm.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • "It is my evil genius," muttered Gawtrey, grinding his teeth.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • After that grinding, terrible cry, the stillness of the night was unstirred.

  • The door slid into its wall pocket with a sound of grinding glass.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

British Dictionary definitions for grinding


verb grinds, grinding or ground

to reduce or be reduced to small particles by pounding or abradingto grind corn; to grind flour
(tr) to smooth, sharpen, or polish by friction or abrasionto grind a knife
to scrape or grate together (two things, esp the teeth) with a harsh rasping sound or (of such objects) to be scraped together
(tr foll by out) to speak or say (something) in a rough voice
(tr often foll by down) to hold down; oppress; tyrannize
(tr) to operate (a machine) by turning a handle
(tr foll by out) to produce in a routine or uninspired mannerhe ground out his weekly article for the paper
(tr foll by out) to continue to play in a dull or insipid mannerthe band only ground out old tunes all evening
(tr often foll by into) to instil (facts, information, etc) by persistent effortthey ground into the recruits the need for vigilance
(intr) informal to study or work laboriously
(intr) mainly US to dance erotically by rotating the pelvis (esp in the phrase bump and grind)


informal laborious or routine work or study
slang, mainly US a person, esp a student, who works excessively hard
a specific grade of pulverization, as of coffee beanscoarse grind
British slang the act of sexual intercourse
mainly US a dance movement involving an erotic rotation of the pelvis
the act or sound of grinding
See also grind in, grind on
Derived Formsgrindingly, adverb

Word Origin for grind

Old English grindan; related to Latin frendere, Lithuanian gréndu I rub, Low German grand sand
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 grinding

past participle adjective from grind (v.). Meaning "oppressive" is from 1580s. The verbal noun is from mid-14c.



Old English grindan "to rub together, grate, scrape," forgrindan "destroy by crushing" (class III strong verb; past tense grand, past participle grunden), from Proto-Germanic *grindanan (cf. Dutch grenden), related to ground, from PIE *ghrendh- "to grind" (cf. Latin frendere "to gnash the teeth," Greek khondros "corn, grain," Lithuanian grendu "to scrape, scratch"). Meaning "to make smooth or sharp by friction" is from c.1300. Most other Germanic languages use a verb cognate with Latin molere (cf. Dutch malen, Old Norse mala, German mahlen).



late 12c., "gnashing the teeth," from grind (v.). The sense "steady, hard work" first recorded 1851 in college student slang (but cf. gerund-grinder, 1710); the meaning "hard-working student" is American English slang from 1864.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

grinding in Medicine




The pathological wearing away of tooth substance by mechanical means.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with grinding


In addition to the idiom beginning with grind

  • grind to a halt

also see:

  • ax to grind
  • mills of the gods grind slowly
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.