Word Origin & History
O.E. greot "sand, dust, earth, gravel," from P.Gmc. *greutan "tiny particles of crushed rock" (cf. O.S. griot, O.Fris. gret, O.N. grjot "rock, stone," Ger. Grieß "grit, sand"), from PIE ghreu- "rub, pound, crush" (cf. Lith. grudas "corn, kernel," O.C.S. gruda "clod"). Sense of "pluck, spirit" first
recorded Amer.Eng. 1808. Gritty in sense of "unpleasant" (of literature, etc.) is 1882, in reference to the sensation of eating gritty bread.
O.E. grytt (pl. grytta) "coarse meal, groats, grits," from P.Gmc. *grutja-, from the same root as grit
, the two words having influenced one another in sound development. In Amer.Eng., 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.