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grat·​ing ˈgrā-tiŋ How to pronounce grating (audio)
: a wooden or metal lattice used to close or floor an opening
: a partition, covering, or frame of parallel bars or crossbars
: a system of close equidistant and parallel lines or bars ruled on a polished surface to produce spectra by diffraction


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: causing irritation or annoyance
a grating habit
It's not just that the interruptions themselves are grating to watch: what's worse is the hostilities they create.Heather Schwedel
often : having a harsh or unpleasant sound
a grating voice/accent
If you just imagined that last quote spoken in Gottfried's grating, obnoxious yelling, that's now how you would hear him on the phone. Blake Hannon
The truck braked noisily with a grating shriek of steel. Mildred D. Taylor
gratingly adverb
a gratingly harsh sound
Something in Orcutt's proprietary manner had irritated her at that first meeting, something she found gratingly egotistical in his expansive courtesy … Philip Roth

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
Asparagus is grilled to stripy blackness, bathed in olive oil, given a grating of parmesan, then topped with breadcrumbs — and a sunnyside-up fried egg. Rand Richards Cooper, Hartford Courant, 3 Jan. 2023 During the film, her character stands on a subway grating and coos as a gust of air twice whooshes up her pleated white dress, exposing her thighs. Manohla Dargis, New York Times, 28 Sep. 2022 Some recipes may require more time than opening a can of soup (lots of chopping, grating, and slicing) but the reward of warm fresh vegetables accented by vibrant flavors is worth it. Kendra Nordin Beato, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 Nov. 2022 Maceration of the rhizome, such as by grating, breaks the cell walls and releases these thioglucosides, as well as an enzyme known as myrosinase [1]. Alice Chi Phung, Discover Magazine, 15 Apr. 2014 This chopper is a gift option that offers some of the greatest functionality on the market with five interchangeable blades to also cover their slicing and grating needs. Danny Perez, Popular Mechanics, 2 Nov. 2022 Use all of that performance, however, and the NX350h lets more of the four-cylinder engine's grating grumble enter the cabin. Greg Fink, Car and Driver, 12 Oct. 2022 Like a KitchenAid, pasta making, meat grinding, and cheese grating attachments can be purchased too. Lauren Joseph, Bon Appétit, 28 Sep. 2022 Top with everything from fresh pear or apple and a hit of creamy feta to a fresh grating of amaretti cookies — a classic Italian pairing with brown butter and butternut squash. Kim Sunée, Anchorage Daily News, 13 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grating.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use


1622, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1563, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of grating was in 1563

Dictionary Entries Near grating

Cite this Entry

“Grating.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a frame of parallel bars or crossbars
: a transparent surface that is ruled with a series of very closely spaced parallel lines or bars and is used to produce spectra by the diffraction of light

Medical Definition


grat·​ing ˈgrāt-iŋ How to pronounce grating (audio)
: a system of close equidistant and parallel lines or bars ruled on a polished surface to produce spectra by diffraction

called also diffraction grating

More from Merriam-Webster on grating

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