1 of 2


: a hard sharp granule (as of sand)
also : material (as many abrasives) composed of such granules
: any of several sandstones
: the structure of a stone that adapts it to grinding
: the size of abrasive particles usually expressed as their mesh
: firmness of mind or spirit : unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger
managed to survive by his grit and guile
capitalized : a Liberal in Canadian politics


2 of 2


gritted; gritting

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

: to cause (one's teeth) to grind or grate
gritted his teeth and faced the challenge
: to cover or spread with grit
especially : to smooth (a material, such as marble) with a coarse abrasive

Example Sentences

Noun He shook out his shoes to remove the small rocks and grit. Through resourcefulness and grit, the pioneers survived the winter. Verb the crash victim gritted his teeth as a way of coping with the pain
Recent Examples on the Web
Only the Ukrainians are on the line, and no one wants to tell them how to fight a battle in which their forces, the only ones engaged in the daily brutality, have shown both grit and determination. Eric Schmitt, New York Times, 20 Jan. 2023 The 31-year-old pastry chef, who went from watching YouTube videos on how to make croissants to running one of the highest profile bakeries in North Texas and receiving a James Beard nomination, is a vessel of unfettered grit and energy. Dallas News, 17 Jan. 2023 Some of that was possible due to budget some of it was sheer grit and determination. Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 22 Dec. 2022 The Italian designer also opted for a classic displacement hull to give the vessel plenty of grit and seaworthiness. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 21 Dec. 2022 Our leaders need to understand that our strength abroad emanates from our best traditions at home—strong families, patriotism, grit and determination, and a military that our service members and citizens can be proud of. John Ratcliffe, WSJ, 27 Oct. 2022 In late July, producers of The History Channel’s hit survival/reality show Alone debuted a spinoff series that promised to be an even greater test of grit and wilderness skill than the original format. Frederick Dreier, Outside Online, 23 Sep. 2022 People like Elon Musk have already tapped into the right mindset, founding successful enterprises one after the other with seemingly bottomless reserves of grit and intelligence. Michael Peres, Rolling Stone, 16 Aug. 2022 Curry had just nine points, most of them in the third quarter, and the grit and defense of the Bears gave them a legitimate chance for one of the most dramatic upsets of the season. Marisa Ingemi, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 Jan. 2023
Justin Verlander overcame an early jolt to grit out the World Series win that long eluded him, rookie Jeremy Peña hit a go-ahead home run and the Houston Astros beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 Thursday night to head home with a 3-2 lead. Ronald Blum, San Francisco Chronicle, 3 Nov. 2022 Many people told Jurkovec to grit it out, but his family knew better. Trevor Hass,, 26 Aug. 2022 That might, for a different team, have been the cue to sit back, to hunch its shoulders and grit its teeth. New York Times, 26 July 2022 Most everybody hates doing this in the moment, but founders who grit their teeth and get through the delegation process give themselves more time. Carl Gould, Forbes, 30 June 2022 For the untold millions who don’t have access to adequate public transportation or otherwise can’t forgo their car, the solution is to grit their teeth and pay while cutting costs elsewhere. Daniel Niemann,, 20 June 2022 On my high school track team, the distance guys were built like deer—lean and long—and able to grit out the pain of running the mile at a blistering pace. Brendan Leonard, Outside Online, 8 May 2020 And yet, when life throws us a curveball, our default is to straighten our backs, grit our teeth and press on. Jeannine Amber, Essence, 3 Apr. 2022 The fortunes of basketball, the accumulating losses and the COVID-19 pandemic that won’t go away forced Thibodeau to grit his teeth and call on Walker again. Dom Amore,, 22 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

Word History



Middle English greet, grete, going back to Old English grēot, going back to Germanic *greuta- "broken bits of stone, sand, gravel," (whence also Old Saxon griot "sand, gravel," Middle Dutch griet "coarse sand, grit," Old High German grioz, Old Icelandic grjót "gravel, pebbles"), noun derivative of *greutan- "to grind, crush" (whence Old High German gegrozan "coarse-grained," past participle of a presumed strong verb griozan "to crush"), going back to dialectal Indo-European *ghreu̯dH-e/o-, whence, from zero grade, Lithuanian grū́džiu/grū́du, grū́sti "to crush, pulverize"; and from a nominal derivative with o-grade Russian grúda "heap, pile," Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian grȕda "lump, clod"

Note: The form grit (rarely grite) is first attested from the late sixteenth century, alongside the forms greet, greete and griet, which by the nineteenth century are considered dialectal. While the latter clearly continue the Middle and Old English etymon, the source of grit is uncertain, as Middle English ẹ̄ should not result in short i. It has been suggested, as by the Oxford English Dictionary, first edition, that short i has been taken from the vowel of grit in grits. — The Germanic verb is unattested outside of Old High German. The Indo-European base *ghreu̯dH-e/o- has no solidly comparable progeny outside of Germanic and Balto-Slavic. Compare also grits, groats, grout entry 1.


derivative of grit entry 1, with some senses probably in part phonesthemic and in part influenced by grate entry 3

First Known Use


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


1762, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near grit

Cite this Entry

“Grit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a small hard sharp particle (as of sand)
: material (as an abrasive) composed of grits
: firmness of mind or spirit : unyielding courage


2 of 2 verb
gritted; gritting
: to grind or cause to grind : grate
grit one's teeth

Legal Definition


grantor retained income trust

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