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[grit] /grɪt/
abrasive particles or granules, as of sand or other small, coarse impurities found in the air, food, water, etc.
firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck:
She has a reputation for grit and common sense.
a coarse-grained siliceous rock, usually with sharp, angular grains.
British, gravel.
sand or other fine grainy particles eaten by fowl to aid in digestion.
verb (used with object), gritted, gritting.
to cause to grind or grate together.
verb (used without object), gritted, gritting.
to make a scratchy or slightly grating sound, as of sand being walked on; grate.
grit one's teeth, to show tenseness, anger, or determination by or as if by clamping or grinding the teeth together.
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 forms
gritless, adjective
gritter, noun
2. resolution, fortitude, courage. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for grit
  • Her white blood was strong in her and she had grit and endurance and a vital courage.
  • Through sheer grit and determination, these companies have weathered the recession and they're ready to grow.
  • They collected more samples, using tape to dab the grit.
  • Only the grit was useful, mostly for industrial applications such as dental drills and hacksaw blades.
  • Using the tops as a handle, fan out light parts under running water and wash off grit.
  • grit my teeth, put him back together again and put him back on the desk.
  • Do your best, and grit your teeth and smile when they get it wrong.
  • Taos seemed covered with a literal and figurative layer of dust that hinted at its grit and authenticity.
  • The moms and dads would always bring a big box of colored chalk, some low grit sandpaper, and a few empty jars.
  • For centuries, ships depended on the grit and dedication of lighthouse keepers and their families.
British Dictionary definitions for grit


small hard particles of sand, earth, stone, etc
Also called gritstone. any coarse sandstone that can be used as a grindstone or millstone
the texture or grain of stone
indomitable courage, toughness, or resolution
(engineering) an arbitrary measure of the size of abrasive particles used in a grinding wheel or other abrasive process
verb grits, gritting, gritted
to clench or grind together (two objects, esp the teeth)
to cover (a surface, such as icy roads) with grit
Derived Forms
gritless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English grēot; related to Old Norse grjōt pebble, Old High German grioz; see great, groats, gruel


noun, adjective (Canadian)
an informal word for Liberal
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
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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.


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for grit


  1. Courage; fortitude and stamina (1825+)
  2. The roadpath beside a railroad track (1950s+ Railroad)
  3. (also grits)Food (1930s+ Black)
  4. A Southerner: He's a hotshot down here among the grits. A good Yankee guard would eat him alive (1960s+)
  5. (also Grit)Awhite person: It's a God's wonder some Grit didn't kill us (1960s+ Black)

To eat (1930s+ Black)

Related Terms

hit the dirt

[food senses at least partially fr hominy grits, although grit was British military slang for ''food'' in the 1930s; Southern dialect sense probably ironically fr Civil War use of the expression true Yankee grit by Northern soldiers and writers]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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