verb (used with object), ground or (Rare) grind·ed; grind·ing.

  1. to wear, smooth, or sharpen by abrasion or friction; whet: to grind a lens.
  2. to reduce to fine particles, as by pounding or crushing; bray, triturate, or pulverize.
  3. to oppress, torment, or crush: to grind the poor.
  4. to rub harshly or gratingly; grate together; grit: to grind one’s teeth.
  5. to operate by turning a crank: to grind a hand organ.
  6. to produce by crushing or abrasion: to grind flour.
  7. Slang. to annoy; irritate; irk: It really grinds me when he’s late.

verb (used without object), ground or (Rare) grind·ed; grind·ing.

  1. to perform the operation of reducing to fine particles.
  2. to rub harshly; grate.
  3. to be or become ground.
  4. to be polished or sharpened by friction.
  5. Informal. to work or study laboriously (often followed by away): He was grinding away at his algebra.
  6. Digital Technology. (in a video game) to perform a monotonous task repeatedly in order to advance a character to a higher level or rank: You have to grind for hours before you can embark on the main story mission.
  7. Slang. (in a dance) to rotate the hips in a suggestive manner.Compare bump(def 12).


  1. the act of grinding.
  2. a grinding sound.
  3. a grade of particle fineness into which a substance is ground: The coffee is available in various grinds for different coffee makers.
  4. laborious, usually uninteresting work: Copying all the footnotes was a grind.
  5. Informal. an excessively diligent student.
  6. Slang. a dance movement in which the hips are rotated in a suggestive or erotic manner.Compare bump(def 12).

Verb Phrases

  1. grind out,
    1. to produce in a routine or mechanical way: to grind out magazine stories.
    2. to extinguish by rubbing the lighted end against a hard surface: to grind out a cigarette.

verb grinds, grinding or ground

  1. to reduce or be reduced to small particles by pounding or abradingto grind corn; to grind flour
  2. (tr) to smooth, sharpen, or polish by friction or abrasionto grind a knife
  3. to scrape or grate together (two things, esp the teeth) with a harsh rasping sound or (of such objects) to be scraped together
  4. (tr foll by out) to speak or say (something) in a rough voice
  5. (tr often foll by down) to hold down; oppress; tyrannize
  6. (tr) to operate (a machine) by turning a handle
  7. (tr foll by out) to produce in a routine or uninspired mannerhe ground out his weekly article for the paper
  8. (tr foll by out) to continue to play in a dull or insipid mannerthe band only ground out old tunes all evening
  9. (tr often foll by into) to instil (facts, information, etc) by persistent effortthey ground into the recruits the need for vigilance
  10. (intr) informal to study or work laboriously
  11. (intr) mainly US to dance erotically by rotating the pelvis (esp in the phrase bump and grind)


  1. informal laborious or routine work or study
  2. slang, mainly US a person, esp a student, who works excessively hard
  3. a specific grade of pulverization, as of coffee beanscoarse grind
  4. British slang the act of sexual intercourse
  5. mainly US a dance movement involving an erotic rotation of the pelvis
  6. the act or sound of grinding

Old English grindan “to rub together, grate, scrape,” forgrindan “destroy by crushing” (class III strong verb; past tense grand, past participle grunden), from Proto-Germanic *grindanan (cf. Dutch grenden), related to ground, from PIE *ghrendh- “to grind” (cf. Latin frendere “to gnash the teeth,” Greek khondros “corn, grain,” Lithuanian grendu “to scrape, scratch”). Meaning “to make smooth or sharp by friction” is from c.1300. Most other Germanic languages use a verb cognate with Latin molere (cf. Dutch malen, Old Norse mala, German mahlen).


late 12c., “gnashing the teeth,” from grind (v.). The sense “steady, hard work” first recorded 1851 in college student slang (but cf. gerund-grinder, 1710); the meaning “hard-working student” is American English slang from 1864.

In addition to the idiom beginning with grind

  • grind to a halt

also see:

  • ax to grind
  • mills of the gods grind slowly

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