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  1. abrasive particles or granules, as of sand or other small, coarse impurities found in the air, food, water, etc.
  2. firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck: She has a reputation for grit and common sense.
  3. a coarse-grained siliceous rock, usually with sharp, angular grains.
  4. British. gravel.
  5. sand or other fine grainy particles eaten by fowl to aid in digestion.
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verb (used with object), grit·ted, grit·ting.
  1. to cause to grind or grate together.
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verb (used without object), grit·ted, grit·ting.
  1. to make a scratchy or slightly grating sound, as of sand being walked on; grate.
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  1. grit one's teeth, to show tenseness, anger, or determination by or as if by clamping or grinding the teeth together.
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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 formsgrit·less, adjectivegrit·ter, noun

Synonyms for grit

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for grit

perseverance, spunk, toughness, guts, tenacity, fortitude, moxie, spirit, daring, powder, dust, gravel, sand, nerve, gameness, spine, backbone, pluck, doggedness

Examples from the Web for grit

Contemporary Examples of grit

Historical Examples of grit

British Dictionary definitions for grit


  1. small hard particles of sand, earth, stone, etc
  2. Also called: gritstone any coarse sandstone that can be used as a grindstone or millstone
  3. the texture or grain of stone
  4. indomitable courage, toughness, or resolution
  5. engineering an arbitrary measure of the size of abrasive particles used in a grinding wheel or other abrasive process
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verb grits, gritting or gritted
  1. to clench or grind together (two objects, esp the teeth)
  2. to cover (a surface, such as icy roads) with grit
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Derived Formsgritless, adjective

Word Origin for grit

Old English grēot; related to Old Norse grjōt pebble, Old High German grioz; see great, groats, gruel


noun, adjective Canadian
  1. an informal word for Liberal
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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 grit


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.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper