grid·​iron | \ ˈgrid-ˌī(-ə)rn \

Definition of gridiron

1 : a grate for broiling food Put the steaks on the gridiron.
2 : something consisting of or covered with a network a gridiron of streets
3 : a football field The two teams will face each other on the gridiron.

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Did You Know?

Modern gridirons are most likely to be covered by football players, but the original gridirons were more likely to be covered with meat or fish; they were metal gratings used for broiling food over an open fire. In Middle English, such a grating was called a gredil, a root that gave modern English both gridiron and griddle. How did gridiron become associated with football? That happened in the late 1800s, when a white grid pattern was added to football fields to help enforce new rules about how many yards a team had to gain to keep possession of the ball. From high up in the stands, the lines made the playing fields look like cooking gridirons.

Examples of gridiron in a Sentence

The book recounts his many moments of glory on the gridiron.

Recent Examples on the Web

Last year, after a celebrated four years on the gridiron at University of Missouri, Harris signed a four-year, $11 million contract that included a $6 million bonus with the Miami Dolphins. Mará Rose Williams, kansascity, "NFL star and Mizzou grad Charles Harris gives back big to his KC alma mater," 1 June 2018 Cooper City's Mark Brent, and Michael DiLiello of Pembroke Pines, recently signed national letters of intent to continue their careers on the collegiate gridiron at the Florida Institute of Technology (Florida Tech) in Melbourne. Gary Curreri,, "Childhood friends will continue playing football — right into college," 8 Apr. 2018 In further Northern Kentucky gridiron news, '20 Covington Catholic tight end Michael Mayer remained one of the area's premier recruits. Cincinnati Enquirer,, "Recruiting Trail: Anderson's Correll commits to Notre Dame, NCC's Kelly to Ohio," 18 June 2018 Staying on the gridiron with walk-on news, ’18 Mason quarterback/defensive back Will Adams committed to Cincinnati as a preferred walk-on, Feb. 1. John Snodgrass,, "Recruiting Trail: Indian Hill football's Thornton committed to father's alma mater, WVU," 5 Feb. 2018 The pizza wars involve as much momentum and strategy as any gridiron contest. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Papa John’s Founder Fumbles the Ball Again," 11 July 2018 Each year, future pro football stars are selected by NFL teams with the promise of years of gridiron glory. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, "Every team's most agonizing NFL draft pick in last 20 years," 25 Apr. 2018 Over on the gridiron there was a lot going on in Ohio this weekend. Cincinnati Enquirer,, "Recruiting Trail: Anderson's Correll commits to Notre Dame, NCC's Kelly to Ohio," 18 June 2018 World Cup fever has expanded to the gridiron in South Florida. Jordan Mcpherson, miamiherald, "What would Miami Dolphins-themed soccer kits look like? Here’s a look," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gridiron.' 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 gridiron

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gridiron

Middle English gredire, alteration of gridel, gredil griddle

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Last Updated

4 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for gridiron

The first known use of gridiron was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for gridiron



English Language Learners Definition of gridiron

: a metal grid for cooking food over a fire

: the field on which American football is played


grid·​iron | \ ˈgrid-ˌī-ərn \

Kids Definition of gridiron

1 : a grate for cooking food over a fire
2 : a football field

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More from Merriam-Webster on gridiron

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gridiron

Spanish Central: Translation of gridiron

Nglish: Translation of gridiron for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gridiron for Arabic Speakers

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