grit·​ty ˈgri-tē How to pronounce gritty (audio)
grittier; grittiest
: containing or resembling grit
: courageously persistent : plucky
a gritty heroine
: having strong qualities of tough uncompromising realism
a gritty novel
grittily adverb
grittiness noun

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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 In a gritty and often unpredictable performance on Court Philippe-Chatrier, Alcaraz showed his trademark fight and resilience against Zverev, coming back from two sets to one down to become the youngest man to win major titles on clay, grass and hard courts. George Ramsay, CNN, 10 June 2024 Better to go with a gritty DIY look that’s brimming with personality and speaks the language of Gen Z—as if made by a social media creator. Mitch Duckler, Fortune, 23 May 2024 But somehow, a Spanish-language musical drama about a Mexican cartel leader who wants to undergo gender-affirming surgery — directed by gritty French filmmaker Jacques Audiard, who has no experience working in the song-and-dance genre — is the toast of Cannes. Matt Donnelly, Variety, 21 May 2024 Perhaps being the grittiest gang of no-goods in the National League West — the team that everyone hates playing because their only goal is to find a way to score one more run than the other team, by any means necessary — is the proper identity for the 2024 Giants. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, 16 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for gritty 

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

Word History


grit entry 1 + -y entry 1

First Known Use

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of gritty was in 1598


Dictionary Entries Near gritty

Cite this Entry

“Gritty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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