[ nit-ee-grit-ee ]
/ ˈnɪt iˈgrɪt i /


the essential substance or details of a matter; basics; crux: Let's skip the chitchat and get down to the nitty-gritty.


fundamental, detailed, or probing: nitty-gritty questions.
direct and practical: nitty-gritty advice; a nitty-gritty system.

Nearby words

  1. nitryl,
  2. nits-and-lice,
  3. nitti,
  4. nitti, francesco saverio,
  5. nitty,
  6. nitwit,
  7. niu tireni,
  8. niuan,
  9. niue,
  10. niuean

Origin of nitty-gritty

An Americanism dating back to 1960–65; rhyming compound of uncertain origin Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nitty-gritty

British Dictionary definitions for nitty-gritty


/ (ˈnɪtɪˈɡrɪtɪ) /


the nitty-gritty informal the basic facts of a matter, situation, etc; the core

Word Origin for nitty-gritty

C20: perhaps rhyming compound formed from grit

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 nitty-gritty



"basic facts," 1961, knitty-gritty, American English, said to have been chiefly used by black jazz musicians, perhaps ultimately from nit and grits "finely ground corn." As an adjective from 1966.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper