grit

Definitions

General English

General Science

  • noun sharp-grained sand
  • noun a tiny solid particle in the air, larger than dust

Agriculture

  • noun small particles of various substances fed to poultry

Construction

  • A granular abrasive used in making sandpaper or on grinding wheels to give a surface a nonslip finish.
  • Particles of sand or gravel contained in sewage.

Politics

  • noun
    (written as Grit)
    in Canada, a liberal

Origin & History of “grit”

Etymologically, grit is ‘something produced by pounding’. Prehistoric Indo-European *ghrēu- denoted ‘rub, pound, crush’, and from it came Germanic *greutam ‘tiny particles of crushed or pounded rock’, hence ‘sand, gravel’. Its modern descendants include English grit and German griess ‘gravel, grit, coarse sand’, and it was also used in the formation of the Old English word for ‘pearl’, meregrot, literally ‘sea-pebble’, an alteration of Latin margarīta ‘pearl’. Groats ‘husked grain’ (OE) comes from the same source.

The sense ‘determination, resolve’ originated in the USA in the early 19th century, presumably as a metaphorical extension of grit meaning ‘hard sandstone’ (as in millstone grit).
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