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See more synonyms for grindstone on Thesaurus.com
  1. a rotating solid stone wheel used for sharpening, shaping, etc.
  2. a millstone.
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  1. keep/put one's nose to the grindstone, to work, study, or practice hard and steadily or to cause someone to do so: If I put my nose to the grindstone, I'll finish the job this week.
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Origin of grindstone

1175–1225; Middle English. See grind, stone
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for grindstone

affair, activity, duty, function, business, undertaking, work, project, responsibility, burden, assignment, effort, exercise, task, industry, trial, job, production, struggle, performance

Examples from the Web for grindstone

Historical Examples of grindstone

  • Their weapons and tools are highly polished, and have evidently been ground on a grindstone.

    English Villages

    P. H. Ditchfield

  • The grindstone was soon in motion; the sparks were flying off in showers.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • Sparks fly from a grindstone when you are sharpening a knife.

    Common Science

    Carleton W. Washburne

  • Surface impurity can of course be got rid of by means of a grindstone.

    On Laboratory Arts

    Richard Threlfall

  • The pottery when cold may be dressed on a grindstone if necessary.

    On Laboratory Arts

    Richard Threlfall

British Dictionary definitions for grindstone


    1. a machine having a circular block of stone or composite abrasive rotated for sharpening tools or grinding metal
    2. the stone used in this machine
    3. any stone used for sharpening; whetstone
  1. another name for millstone
  2. keep one's nose to the grindstone or have one's nose to the grindstone to work hard and perseveringly
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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 grindstone


early 13c. "millstone," from grind (v.) in sense of "sharpen" + stone (n.); meaning "revolving stone disc used for sharpening, etc." is from c.1400. Phrase nose to the grindstone in use by 1530s; originally to get control of another and treat him harshly:

This Text holdeth their noses so hard to the grindstone, that it clean disfigureth their Faces. [John Frith, "Mirror to know Thyself," 1532]

The main modern (reflective) sense of "work hard" is from 1828.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with grindstone


see nose to the grindstone.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.