1 of 2


: a hard sharp granule (as of sand)
also : material (as many abrasives) composed of such granules
: any of several sandstones
: the structure of a stone that adapts it to grinding
: the size of abrasive particles usually expressed as their mesh
: firmness of mind or spirit : unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger
managed to survive by his grit and guile
capitalized : a Liberal in Canadian politics


2 of 2


gritted; gritting

intransitive verb

: to give forth a grating sound
dry snow gritting beneath our feet

transitive verb

: to cause (one's teeth) to grind or grate
gritted his teeth and faced the challenge
: to cover or spread with grit
especially : to smooth (a material, such as marble) with a coarse abrasive

Examples of grit in a Sentence

Noun He shook out his shoes to remove the small rocks and grit. Through resourcefulness and grit, the pioneers survived the winter. Verb the crash victim gritted his teeth as a way of coping with the pain
Recent Examples on the Web
And to be fair, in this movie, Domingo does eat everybody’s grits. Wesley Morris, New York Times, 18 Feb. 2024 Equipped with real diamond grit, this wand works to add a more polished look to your skin, creating a bright and smooth complexion that everyone will compliment you on. Mia Meltzer, Rolling Stone, 16 Feb. 2024 Hard work, sweat and grit are all part of the ticket to success. Veena Jetti, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 Get the Recipe 25 of 34 South Carolina: Shrimp and Grits This simple entrée has Lowcountry origins, with the earliest makers stirring fresh catch into the day's first bubbling pot of grits. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 13 Feb. 2024 His grit and passion for the game anchored our defense and elevated everyone around him. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, 9 Feb. 2024 From breakfast burritos to shrimp and grits and cinnamon biscuits highlight the diversity of the eatery. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 6 Feb. 2024 Both Tran and Underwood brought great qualities to the partnership: grit, inventiveness, passion, ambition. Indrani Sen, Fortune, 30 Jan. 2024 Under a tent near the end of the parade route, members of the Hollywood Teamsters, the Service Employees International Union, and other unions sat at folding tables, eating from a buffet of sausage, eggs, and grits. Emily Witt, The New Yorker, 2 Feb. 2024
Sprinkle a thin, lightweight layer of soil or grit on top. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 8 Feb. 2024 This blush comes in three different shades—dynamic, a deep plum shade; perseverance, a bright red; and grit, a vibrant pink. Moriah Mason, Southern Living, 28 Nov. 2023 For four decades, patient savers able to grit their teeth through bubbles, crashes and geopolitical upheaval won the money game. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, 25 Oct. 2023 The Aces starters, who have years of experience playing together, were grabbing rebounds, gritting through contact, slipping through screens, disrupting opposing drives, dancing around defenders in intricate patterns. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, 15 Oct. 2023 This ammonia-free formula is designed to be tough on stubborn grime and grit, yet gentle enough to use on delicate stone, tile, and laminate. Kelsey Mulvey, Better Homes & Gardens, 21 Nov. 2023 We are told to push through, grit our teeth, accept it. Nell Frizzell, Vogue, 9 Oct. 2023 What results is a haunting work that exudes grace and grit in equal measure. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Oct. 2023 Frequent vacuuming is the first line of defense against dirt and grit that damages carpet fibers. Caitlin Sole, Better Homes & Gardens, 21 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'grit.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English greet, grete, going back to Old English grēot, going back to Germanic *greuta- "broken bits of stone, sand, gravel," (whence also Old Saxon griot "sand, gravel," Middle Dutch griet "coarse sand, grit," Old High German grioz, Old Icelandic grjót "gravel, pebbles"), noun derivative of *greutan- "to grind, crush" (whence Old High German gegrozan "coarse-grained," past participle of a presumed strong verb griozan "to crush"), going back to dialectal Indo-European *ghreu̯dH-e/o-, whence, from zero grade, Lithuanian grū́džiu/grū́du, grū́sti "to crush, pulverize"; and from a nominal derivative with o-grade Russian grúda "heap, pile," Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian grȕda "lump, clod"

Note: The form grit (rarely grite) is first attested from the late sixteenth century, alongside the forms greet, greete and griet, which by the nineteenth century are considered dialectal. While the latter clearly continue the Middle and Old English etymon, the source of grit is uncertain, as Middle English ẹ̄ should not result in short i. It has been suggested, as by the Oxford English Dictionary, first edition, that short i has been taken from the vowel of grit in grits. — The Germanic verb is unattested outside of Old High German. The Indo-European base *ghreu̯dH-e/o- has no solidly comparable progeny outside of Germanic and Balto-Slavic. Compare also grits, groats, grout entry 1.


derivative of grit entry 1, with some senses probably in part phonesthemic and in part influenced by grate entry 3

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1762, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of grit was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near grit

Cite this Entry

“Grit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a small hard sharp particle (as of sand)
: material (as an abrasive) composed of grits
: firmness of mind or spirit : unyielding courage


2 of 2 verb
gritted; gritting
: to grind or cause to grind : grate
grit one's teeth

Legal Definition


grantor retained income trust

More from Merriam-Webster on grit

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