\ˈgrit \

Definition of grit 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : sand, gravel

b : a hard sharp granule (as of sand) also : material (as many abrasives) composed of such granules

2 : any of several sandstones

3a : the structure of a stone that adapts it to grinding

b : the size of abrasive particles usually expressed as their mesh

4 : firmness of mind or spirit : unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger managed to survive by his grit and guile

5 capitalized : a Liberal in Canadian politics


gritted; gritting

Definition of grit (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

1 : to cause (one's teeth) to grind or grate gritted his teeth and faced the challenge

2 : to cover or spread with grit especially : to smooth (a material, such as marble) with a coarse abrasive

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Synonyms & Antonyms for grit

Synonyms: Noun

backbone, constancy, fiber, fortitude, grittiness, guts, intestinal fortitude, pluck, spunk

Synonyms: Verb

crunch, gnash, grate, grind, scrape, scrunch

Antonyms: Noun


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Examples of grit in a Sentence


He shook out his shoes to remove the small rocks and grit. Through resourcefulness and grit, the pioneers survived the winter.


the crash victim gritted his teeth as a way of coping with the pain
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Brosnahan, who plays the show's titular Midge Maisel, hopes to see her character show some grit. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," 6 Dec. 2018 Bickhaus, a 5-foot-5 guard, showed tremendous grit by finishing out the basketball season and then playing on the Buffalo Grove softball team. Bob Narang,, "Jacqueline Bickhaus preps for 'season to remember' at Buffalo Grove," 14 July 2018 Punk showed grit, but Jackson continued to land quick strikes on the feet, including a crisp two-punch combination that busted up his opponent’s nose. John Morgan, USA TODAY, "CM Punk falls to Mike Jackson via decision at UFC 225," 9 June 2018 Robert's Zach shows true grit in the final scenes, making up for some of his reckless hotheadedness. Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Sheherazade': Film Review | Cannes 2018," 14 May 2018 Philly showed some grit and heart while going toe-to-toe with the Celtics. Marc Narducci,, "Sixers-Celtics Game 4 observations: T.J. McConnell's presence, Robert Covington's struggles," 8 May 2018 Rub leaves between fingers and feel for grit; repeat with fresh cold water if necessary. The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen, Bon Appetit, "14 Kitchen Tips Worth Memorizing," 22 Mar. 2018 Child development professionals may disagree about whether or not resiliency is inherent to children, but the spate of books on grit argue it can be learned. Rachel Spector, Msw, miamiherald, "Tips for raising a resilient child who doesn’t fall apart at the seams | Miami Herald," 21 Mar. 2018 To the west of the old city is the barrio known as El Raval, which, though rapidly gentrifying, still mixes in enough urban grit to give it an authentic edge (translation: keep a tight grip on your wallet or purse). Andrew Ferren, ELLE Decor, "ELLE DECOR Goes to Barcelona," 4 Apr. 2011

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

What better way to express that feeling than through images of people gritting their teeth and forging toward their polling place? Aja Romano, Vox, "The memes of the 2018 midterm elections reflect a feeling of urgency and determination," 6 Nov. 2018 Gone are the days of gritting your teeth through gritty soy lattes to avoid the gastrointestinal effects of lactose and dairy fat; a new, smoother, tastier league of mylks has arrived to appease dairy haters of every ilk. Marian Bull, GQ, "The Best Non-Dairy Milks for Every Occasion," 12 June 2018 In response, many Russians will be gritting their teeth — and putting on their happy faces. Samuel Putnam, Washington Post, "Russians don’t smile much, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like you," 30 June 2018 Myers tried to impress with his new team, gritting through an ailing wrist. Tom Krasovic,, "With big salaries coming, Wil Myers getting on track would be big for Padres," 20 June 2018 With teeth gritted, Axe comes this close to taking Frotty Anisman’s money, and selling off a piece of Axe Capital., "Billions Season 3, Episode 10 Recap: "Texas Roadkill Chili"," 28 May 2018 Both are upgrades on the floor, and neither will cause the Lakers front office to open Twitter with teeth gritted and one eye closed. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "LaVar Ball's latest bluster shows Los Angeles Lakers need to trade Lonzo Ball," 5 July 2018 Beavers gritted out a 57-54 victory Friday over No. Ken Goe,, "Goe: Oregon State women show more grit than flash, but it's enough to beat Arizona State," 12 Jan. 2018 In one of Maye’s pictures, a runner is gritting his teeth midstride while, a few feet behind him, the limo creeps along in ominous pursuit, a ghostly white hand visible in the car’s tinted windows. Martin Fritz Huber, Outside Online, "The Speed Project: A Crazy, 340-Mile Desert Relay," 21 June 2018

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


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


1762, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for grit


Middle English grete, from Old English grēot; akin to Old High German grioz sand


see grit entry 1

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Statistics for grit

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for grit

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

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More Definitions for grit



English Language Learners Definition of grit

: very small pieces of sand or stone

: mental toughness and courage


\ˈgrit \

Kids Definition of grit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : rough hard bits especially of sand

2 : strength of mind or spirit He had never learned to run properly, but … no one had more grit than he.— Katherine Paterson, Bridge to Terabithia


gritted; gritting

Kids Definition of grit (Entry 2 of 2)

Legal Definition of GRIT 

grantor retained income trust

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More from Merriam-Webster on grit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grit

Spanish Central: Translation of grit

Nglish: Translation of grit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grit for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about grit

Comments on grit

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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