backbone vs grit what difference

what is difference between backbone and grit



From Middle English bakbon, bakebon, bac-bon, equivalent to back +‎ bone. Compare the semantically analogous Old English hryċġbān (backbone; spine), West Frisian rêchbonke (backbone).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈbækˌbəʊn/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈbækˌboʊn/


backbone (countable and uncountable, plural backbones)

  1. The series of vertebrae, separated by disks, that encloses and protects the spinal cord, and runs down the middle of the back in vertebrate animals.
  2. (figuratively) Any fundamental support, structure, or infrastructure.
  3. (figuratively) Courage, fortitude, or strength.


  • spine
  • spinal column
  • vertebral column
  • See also Thesaurus:backbone




  • IPA(key): /ˈɡɹɪt/
  • Rhymes: -ɪt

Etymology 1

With early modern vowel shortening, from Middle English grete, griet, from Old English grēot, from Proto-Germanic *greutą (compare German Grieß, Swedish gryta, Norwegian Nynorsk grjot), from Proto-Indo-European *gʰr-eu-d- (compare Lithuanian grúodas (frost; frozen street dirt), Serbo-Croatian grȕda (lump)).


grit (uncountable)

  1. A collection of hard small materials, such as dirt, ground stone, debris from sandblasting or other such grinding, or swarf from metalworking.
    1. Sand or a sand–salt mixture spread on wet and, especially, icy roads and footpaths to improve traction.
  2. Inedible particles in food.
  3. A measure of the relative coarseness of an abrasive material such as sandpaper, the smaller the number the coarser the abrasive.
  4. (geology) A hard, coarse-grained siliceous sandstone; gritstone. Also, a finer sharp-grained sandstone, e.g., grindstone grit.
  5. Strength of mind; great courage or fearlessness; fortitude.
    • 1861, Charles Reade, The Cloister and the Hearth
      They came to a rising ground , not sharp , but long ; and here youth and grit and sober living told more than ever.
Derived terms
  • gritten
  • gritty
Related terms
  • grind
  • grindstone
  • sand, sandy, sandblasting
See also
  • debris
  • mortar and pestle
  • swarf


grit (third-person singular simple present grits, present participle gritting, simple past and past participle gritted or (nonstandard) grit)

  1. Apparently only in grit one’s teeth: to clench, particularly in reaction to pain or anger.
  2. To cover with grit.
  3. (obsolete, intransitive) To give forth a grating sound, like sand under the feet; to grate; to grind.
    • 1767, Oliver Goldsmith, The Hermit
      The sanded |floor that grits beneath the tread.
Derived terms
  • grit one’s teeth

Etymology 2

From Middle English gryt (bran, chaff), from Old English grytt, from Proto-Germanic *grutją (coarsely ground bits) (compare Dutch grut, German Grütze), ablaut variant of Proto-Indo-European *gʰr-eu-d-. See above.


grit (plural grits)

  1. (usually in the plural) Husked but unground oats.
  2. (usually in the plural) Coarsely ground corn or hominy used as porridge.
Related terms
  • groat
  • grout
  • gruel


  • girt, trig



grit (comparative mair grit, superlative maist grit)

  1. great

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