grid·​iron | \ ˈgrid-ˌī(-ə)rn How to pronounce gridiron (audio) \

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 Durbin led the Rangers for seven seasons on the gridiron with a Division II playoff appearance in 20015. Matt Goul, cleveland, "Bryan Morgan taking over as North Ridgeville football coach," 20 Jan. 2021 John Carl Scarbath was born in Baltimore on Aug. 12, 1930, and excelled on the gridiron while attending Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. Washington Post, "Jack Scarbath, star quarterback for the University of Maryland, dies at 90," 18 Dec. 2020 However, Thompson is a humble leader reluctant to take credit for his natural gifts and success on the gridiron. Dana Scott, The Arizona Republic, "Ty Thompson leads Mesquite's quest to repeat 4A state title entering semifinals," 3 Dec. 2020 The skills that were learned on the gridiron are being applied with a new partnership between Toys for Tots and Emmett Hall,, "Lawrence Taylor’s Fore Life, Inc. teams up with toy drives," 3 Dec. 2020 That changed, as the 6-foot-5, 210-pounder flexed his potential on the gridiron. Matt Goul, cleveland, "Mitch Trubisky, Kareem Hunt lead all-decade football team on offense," 24 Nov. 2020 The impetus behind the conference’s cagey return to the gridiron, according to Dr. Borchers, is the same one that prompted Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren to call off the fall season on Aug. 11. Laine Higgins, WSJ, "Big Ten Football Returns—as Covid-19 Surges in the Midwest," 23 Oct. 2020 Players to Watch: Junior Jake Davidson threw for 1,335 yards and 10 touchdowns last year while rushing for 523 and seven, and brings the athleticism of being the two-time defending 1A state pole vault champion to the gridiron. James Weber, The Enquirer, "Northern Kentucky 2A football: Beechwood, Walton-Verona lead the teams making run at state," 2 Sep. 2020 In a world of uncertainty, one thing that’s certain is when Texas A&M returns to the gridiron, the Aggies will be donning some new gear. Dallas News, "Texas A&M reveals new uniforms for 2020 season," 13 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for gridiron

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

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Last Updated

30 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gridiron.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for gridiron



English Language Learners Definition of gridiron

: a metal grid for cooking food over a fire
US, informal : the field on which American football is played


grid·​iron | \ ˈgrid-ˌī-ərn How to pronounce gridiron (audio) \

Kids Definition of gridiron

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

More from Merriam-Webster on gridiron

Nglish: Translation of gridiron for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gridiron for Arabic Speakers

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