1 : a grate for broiling food
2 : something consisting of or covered with a network
3 : a football field
Did You Know?
Modern gridirons are covered in football players when they're in use, but the original gridirons were more likely to be covered with meat or fish; they were metal gratings used for broiling food over an open fire. In Middle English, such a grating was called a gredil, a root that gave modern English both gridiron and griddle. How did gridiron become associated with football? That happened in the late 1800s, when a white grid pattern was added to football fields to help enforce new rules about how many yards a team had to gain to keep possession of the ball. From high up in the stands, the lines made the playing fields look like cooking gridirons.
"Despite his prowess on the gridiron, he received little attention from Division-I football programs." — Tom Layberger, Forbes, 14 Sept. 2018
"[Thomas] Jefferson wanted wide streets, lots of land reserved for public space, and a rectangular pattern of streets. L'Enfant insisted on radial avenues that intersect a gridiron of streets at odd angles. Many city planners believe that if Jefferson's plan had been adopted, there would be fewer traffic problems in Washington, D.C., today." — Ann Feetham, Cobblestone, 1 Sept. 2012
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