grit·​ty | \ ˈgri-tē How to pronounce gritty (audio) \
grittier; grittiest

Definition of gritty

1 : containing or resembling grit
2 : courageously persistent : plucky a gritty heroine
3 : having strong qualities of tough uncompromising realism a gritty novel

Other Words from gritty

grittily \ ˈgri-​tə-​lē How to pronounce gritty (audio) \ adverb
grittiness \ ˈgri-​tē-​nəs How to pronounce gritty (audio) \ noun

Did you know?

Gritty comes from grit ("small hard granules"), which in turn derives, via Middle English, from an Old English word for "sand" or "gravel." Grit has been around since before the 12th century, but the first appearance of gritty in print in English was near the end of the 16th century, when it was used in the sense of "resembling or containing small hard granules." Grit entered American slang with the meaning "courage or persistence" in the early 19th century, and gritty followed suit with a corresponding "plucky" sense. By the 19th century's end, gritty was also being used to describe a literary style that was rough and coarse.

Examples of gritty in a Sentence

I admire her gritty determination to succeed. The book describes the gritty realities of life on the streets. He gave us all of the gritty details of his divorce.
Recent Examples on the Web So this piece was a chance to really get into the nitty-gritty of different players’ styles. Chris Willman, Variety, 8 May 2022 The tech kindly handed it off to Sadler Vaden, the band’s guitarist, who was immediately struck by Wade’s gritty voice and transparent songwriting style. Jessica Nicholson, Billboard, 4 May 2022 Senate Republicans did not challenge the broad outlines of their chamber’s spending plan, but the nitty-gritty of individual budget amendments ignited debates over free speech and the legitimacy of President Biden’s election victory in 2020. Washington Post, 21 Feb. 2022 While all doctors must meet the exacting standards of their licensing boards, the nitty-gritty of public health work is often learned on the job. Eleanor Cummins, The New Republic, 16 Feb. 2022 CFA Institute and CFA Society of India even organised a round table (pdf) to discuss the nitty-gritty of this paper. Kundan Pandey, Quartz, 10 Feb. 2022 While the Department of Defense is working hard to solve the Red Hill water crisis, the somnolent Biden Administration must awaken and get engaged in the nitty-gritty of Pentagon management. Craig Hooper, Forbes, 1 Feb. 2022 CFOs get the nitty gritty of what would need to change in areas of the organization during a transformation that are often overlooked. Sheryl Estrada, Fortune, 28 Jan. 2022 My audience already knew a lot of the basics but really wanted to get into the nitty-gritty. Tyler Aquilina,, 27 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gritty.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of gritty

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gritty

grit entry 1 + -y entry 1

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Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Gritty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for gritty


grit·​ty | \ ˈgri-tē How to pronounce gritty (audio) \
grittier; grittiest

Kids Definition of gritty

1 : containing or like rough hard bits especially of sand
2 : showing toughness and courage
3 : harshly realistic a gritty story


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