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 But on the gridiron, dreams don’t always become reality. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, "Prep Bowl: Rocori edges Jalen Suggs-led SMB in overtime to win thrilling Class 4A clash," 29 Nov. 2019 The Eagles and Wildcats both fought back through the entire physical game that brought out massive hits on the gridiron. Marcus Gutierrez, Houston Chronicle, "No. 10 Atascocita defeats Humble for district title," 8 Nov. 2019 Starting in 1993, when the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten, the winner of their head-to-head meetings with the Gophers has taken home the Governor’s Victory Bell, the least-known of the traveling trophies the U fights for on the gridiron. Jess Myers, Twin Cities, "Gophers, Michigan playing with trophy on the line — wherever it is," 7 Nov. 2019 By the time the Buckeyes and the Wolverines met on the gridiron in 1897, they were primed for ugly combat. Diane Roberts, The New Republic, "Celebrating 150 Years of Simulated Warfare," 6 Nov. 2019 On the gridiron, Couch totaled more than 2,000 rushing yards with close to 40 touchdowns while making 300 solo tackles. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Manual product ShaRae Mansfield among 12 named to KHSAA's 2020 Hall of Fame class," 31 Oct. 2019 Indiana and Purdue first met on the gridiron in 1891, so the in-state rivalry was still fairly new when the two were to meet in 1903. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "Retro Indy: 1903 train crash killed 17 people on way to Purdue football game against IU," 31 Oct. 2019 After enduring the trials and tribulations of competitive youth football the last few years, the Sunrise Hurricanes football program is back on track and enjoying a resurgence of success on the gridiron. Emmett Hall,, "Sunrise Hurricanes football gaining strength and respect," 24 Oct. 2019 Two years in the making, the football contest between the two respective schools offered students from completely different socio-economic backgrounds to not just meet on the gridiron, but to have a meeting of hearts and souls. Los Angeles Times, "Letters: Bruins’ first victory is one for the books," 27 Sep. 2019

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

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Gridiron.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 16 December 2019.

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More Definitions for gridiron


How to pronounce gridiron (audio)

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

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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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