• synonyms


See more synonyms for nitty-gritty on Thesaurus.com
  1. the essential substance or details of a matter; basics; crux: Let's skip the chitchat and get down to the nitty-gritty.
Show More
  1. fundamental, detailed, or probing: nitty-gritty questions.
  2. direct and practical: nitty-gritty advice; a nitty-gritty system.
Show More

Origin of nitty-gritty

An Americanism dating back to 1960–65; rhyming compound of uncertain origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

kernel, substance, gist, core, fundamentals, essence, focus, reality, heart, quintessence, basics, soul, root, meat

Examples from the Web for nitty-gritty

Contemporary Examples

British Dictionary definitions for nitty-gritty


  1. the nitty-gritty informal the basic facts of a matter, situation, etc; the core
Show More

Word Origin

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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper