greasy spoon


Definition of greasy spoon

: a dingy small cheap restaurant

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Did You Know?

In the decades following its first use in 1902, the surrounding context of greasy spoon usually included words along the lines of lousy, wind up eating in, slinging hash, the underside of society, settle for, or rather starve. And while things haven't changed entirely, a recent wave of nostalgia has elevated the status of greasy spoons. Since the 1970s, the descriptions might contain words like fabled, distinction, beloved, classic, an institution, fondness for, and comfort food. Now you can consult a Greasy Spoon Guide and read up on Best Greasy Spoons, or lunch at a diner restored to look like a greasy spoon. Some of these eateries are now even named "The Greasy Spoon."

Examples of greasy spoon in a Sentence

We ate at some greasy spoon near the bus station.

Recent Examples on the Web

Like at any typical greasy spoon, the food is exactly what you’d expect; but isn’t that the point here? 800 Divisadero St., San Francisco. Soleil Ho,, "When being Asian American means bacon and eggs and hamburgers," 6 June 2019 New Jersey is known as the diner capital of the world thanks to the hundreds of greasy spoons within the Garden States borders. Rebecca Deczynski, Good Housekeeping, "50 American Food Facts You Didn't Know," 4 June 2019 Shirlene’s Cuisine, a charming greasy spoon, welcomed us with a light-up sign depicting a sleigh. Ann Votaw, Marie Claire, "I Went to the Harvard of Santa Schools to Become Mrs. Claus," 20 Dec. 2018 Day 2: Head down to Lake Huron to catch the sunrise, and then inhale a greasy spoon breakfast at the 61-year-old Darrow’s Family Restaurant in Mackinaw City. Ashlea Halpern, Condé Nast Traveler, "Road Trip: 3 Days in Northern Michigan," 19 July 2018 Skip the greasy spoon Cooking at home has its perks. Jennifer Rude Klett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Table for 1: For solo diners, cooking at home offers many perks," 12 July 2018 Morning Start where everyone starts their best days on the coastside: 3-Zero Cafe, the greasy spoon adjacent to the airport’s main landing strip. Gregory Thomas,, "One Day, One Place: Half Moon Bay harbor," 11 July 2018 Of course, Little Pete’s was just one of the latest old-school greasy spoons to bite the dust of gentrification, succumb to changing tastes (or cheaper chain options nearby), or simply slide into the mediocrity of an indifferent new owner. Craig Laban,, "Middle Child a bright new player in luncheonette revival," 25 May 2018 For the last eleven years, everyone’s favorite purveyor of scattered, smothered, covered, and chunked hash browns transforms from a beloved greasy spoon to a fine dining establishment brimming with romance. Melissa Locker, Southern Living, "Waffle House Is Pulling Out The White Tablecloths and Flowers for Valentine’s Day Again," 7 Feb. 2018

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

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First Known Use of greasy spoon

1902, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for greasy spoon

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for greasy spoon

The first known use of greasy spoon was in 1902

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More Definitions for greasy spoon

greasy spoon


English Language Learners Definition of greasy spoon

informal : a small and cheap restaurant

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with greasy spoon

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