General English


  • A type of screen made from sets of parallel bars placed across each other at right angles in approximately the same plane. A grate allows water to flow to drainage, while covering the area for pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
  • A surface with openings to allow air to flow through while supporting a fuel bed, as in a coal furnace.


  • verb to shred a firm textured food such as a carrot, a piece of cheese or a nutmeg using either a handheld tool or a food processor


  • verb to shred something into very small pieces, using a metal tool with holes with rough edges

Origin & History of “grate”

Grate ‘framework for holding burning fuel’ (14th c.) and grate ‘rub’ (15th c.) are different words. The former comes via Old French grate ‘grille’ and vulgar Latin *grāta from Latin crātis ‘wickerwork, hurdle’. Grate ‘rub’ is ultimately Germanic (its ultimate ancestor was the Germanic verb *krattōn, source of modern German kratzen ‘scratch’), but it reached English via Old French grater ‘scrape’. Gratin (19th c.) comes from the derived French noun gratin.