Word of the Day: grate

Word of the Day
March 25, 2016
grate (verb, noun)
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Grated cheese
Most commonly, grate means 'to reduce something to small pieces by rubbing it against a sharp surface with small holes.' But grate also means 'to make a harsh, annoying sound by rubbing two things together' and it is used figuratively to mean that something or someone has an irritating effect. As a noun, grate is a frame of metal bars, used in fireplaces or stoves, or a metal framework in windows.

 

Example sentences
 
Henry grated some cheese to go on top of the pizza.
The old, rusty gate grated against its hinges, as Julie pushed it open.
There's something about Peter's voice that I can't stand; it really grates.
We lit the fire last night, so the grate needs cleaning out.
The windows were fitted with ornate grates.

 

Multi-word forms
 
grate on someone, grate on someone's nerves: to irritate someone. Example: "The way he is always tapping his fingers really grates on me," or "The way he is always tapping his fingers really grates on my nerves."
 
Did you know?
 
You can grate cheese or vegetables, but if you are taking little pieces off of the peel of a fruit, especially a citrus fruit like a lemon, lime, or orange, we use the verb zest instead of grate. The noun zest refers to the little pieces of the peel. Example: "Zest the lemon. Then add the zest to the mixture." There is a special kitchen tool called a zester, which you can use for zesting, but a small grater also works very well and has more uses in the kitchen.
 
Other forms
 
grater (noun), grated (adjective)
 
Origin
 
As a frame or a verb meaning 'to reduce to small particles,' grate dates back to the second half of the 14th century and comes from the Medieval Latin word grāta, meaning 'a grating,' and is derivative of the Latin crāt- (stem of crātis), meaning 'wickerwork' or 'hurdle,' and the Old French word grater. As a verb meaning 'to make a harsh sound' or 'to irritate,' grate dates back to the late 14th or early 15th century and is comparable to the German word kratzen, meaning 'to scratch.'
 
 
 
 
 
Grate in other languages
 
 
 
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