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plural of grit "coarsely ground grain," Old English grytt (plural grytta) "coarse meal, groats, grits," from Proto-Germanic *grutja-, from the same root as grit, the two words having influenced one another in sound development.
In American English, corn-based grits and hominy (q.v.) were used interchangeably in Colonial times. Later, hominy meant whole kernels that had been skinned but not ground, but in the U.S. South, hominy meant skinned kernels that could be ground coarsely to make grits. In New Orleans, whole kernels are big hominy and ground kernels little hominy.
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.
To eat (1930s+ Black)Related Terms
[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]
sedimentary rock that consists of angular sand-sized grains and small pebbles. The term is roughly equivalent to the term sandstone (q.v.).