Fictional Characters dictionary



What does gritty mean?

Gritty describes something that is rough and tough. It is often used to describe creative content that is realistic and raw.

Gritty is also the name of the Philadelphia Flyer’s orange, hairy mascot who debuted  in 2018 and became a popular meme and leftist symbol.

Related words

hardcore, ham, Pepe the Frog, jawn, Antifa

Where does gritty come from?

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images / Thrillist

Gritty is the adjective version of grit and is used to describe things resembling sand or gravel. This sense dates back to the late 1500s.

Its metaphorical sense, for something “coarse,” emerges in the late 19th century. One early example comes from a 1888 New York collection of literary criticism that uses gritty to describe the book Annie Kilburn. A critic describes the book as “perfectly real, if rather grim and gritty, in its portrayal of characters and manners.”

Gritty spread in the 20th century as a common term critics and viewers would use to describe films and TV shows (and later, comic books and video games) that were especially realistic, raw, harsh, or cynical–such as film noir or Westerns.

Warner Bros.

A gritty person, meanwhile, has courage and pluck, a sense of the word, a sense that dates back to the mid-1800s.

And, of course, there’s Gritty, the orange, googly-eyed, muppet-like mascot for the Philadelphia Flyers professional hockey team.

Gritty debuted on September 24, 2018, and the bizarre mascot gained quick adoration and internet-fame. The Flyers’ rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins, mocked Gritty on Twitter upon his unveiling. Gritty did not take this slight lightly.

Thanks to this viral threat (and his unusual appearance), Gritty was an instant meme. Mere days after his reveal, Gritty was already on the talk show circuit, memorably picking a fight with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show.

Gritty memes spread like wildfire, including on Gritty’s own social media accounts.

Gritty also caught on with far-left groups in the US. They imagined him as a working-class hero, a champion of the proletariat, ready to brawl for your rights.

Just as Pepe the Frog became a far-right mascot so Gritty became a leftist icon after members of the far-left group Antifa used in a protest banner during President Donald Trump’s visit to Philadelphia in October 2018.

Delaware Liberal

Things got even weirder—er, grittierwhen, on October 25, 2018, the Philadelphia City Council acknowledged Gritty’s status as a leftist symbol, humorously referring to him as “insurrectionary” and a “non-binary leftist icon” in a somehow-not-made-up Gritty Resolution.

Strange as this all seems, Gritty-mania was really nothing unusual for a year like 2018.

Examples of gritty

I hope 2019 isn’t a gritty reboot of 2018. I want feel good rom com 2019.
@blankenship, January 2019
...Stay Gritty out there. But not TOO Gritty. ✌️
@GrittyNHL, October 2018
Cataract City by Craig Davidson is said to be One Book One Brant’s “grittiest selection yet”...The story is based in Niagara Falls and revolves around childhood friends Duncan and Owen who share a near-death experience before going their separate ways. As Duncan becomes embroiled in the town’s underworld, he and Owen – who went on to become a police officer – become reluctant adversaries at opposite ends of the law.
Colleen Toms, The Record, January 2017

Who uses gritty?

Gritty is often used to describe things that are dark and edgy. If a movie is gritty, that probably means it is violent, depressing, or isn’t for kids. But we’ll probably see it anyway.

As for the indefatigable orange hairball, Gritty remains a meme legend…

…a leftist darling.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of gritty like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of gritty that will help our users expand their word mastery.