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.
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Recent Examples on the Web For those who are interested, Fortune dug into the nitty gritty to figure out how to buy real estate in the metaverse. Marco Quiroz-gutierrez, Fortune, 8 Dec. 2021 Allen then gets into the nitty gritty of the bus features and driver protocols. Kellie Hwang, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 Nov. 2021 As with many announcements this week, this is a high level statement which indicates commitment to an ideal rather than the nitty gritty of how such markets are to be created. Felicia Jackson, Forbes, 4 Nov. 2021 Haddad, of the Atlantic Council, said European allies were less interested in the nitty gritty of legislating and more on practical matters like Republicans blocking the confirmation of most of Biden's ambassadorial nominees. Ben Gittleson, ABC News, 28 Oct. 2021 Ridley-Thomas had been closely advising Bass, who isn’t steeped in the nitty gritty of local homelessness policy. Benjamin Oreskes, Los Angeles Times, 16 Oct. 2021 The first is an introspective, high-level mission; the second, more nitty-gritty. Amby Burfoot, Outside Online, 1 Jan. 2022 In 2021, this genre finally got its jolt in the form of the gritty, moody Inscryption. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, 26 Dec. 2021 Melvin van Peebles' gritty, funny, and shocking films revolutionized Black cinema. CBS News, 26 Dec. 2021

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.

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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 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Gritty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for gritty



English Language Learners Definition of gritty

: containing very small pieces of sand or stone : containing grit
: having or showing a lot of courage and determination
: harsh and unpleasant


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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