Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A cup or plate that, according to medieval legend, was used by Jesus at the Last Supper and later became the object of many chivalric quests.
  • noun The object of a prolonged endeavor.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Same as gradual, 2.
  • noun Fine particles: in the quotation apparently referring to the fine beads or air-bubbles of mantling liquor.
  • noun Fine gravel; sand.
  • noun One of the smaller feathers of a hawk.
  • In comb-making, to treat with a single-cut file or grail.
  • noun A single-cut file with one curved and one straight face, used by comb-makers.
  • noun In medieval legend, a cup or chalice, called more particularly the holy grail or sangreal, supposed to have been of emerald, used by Christ at the last supper, and in which Joseph of Arimathea caught the last drops of Christ's blood as he was taken from the cross.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One of the small feathers of a hawk.
  • noun A broad, open dish; a chalice; -- only used of the Holy Grail.
  • noun obsolete Small particles of earth; gravel.
  • noun obsolete A book of offices in the Roman Catholic Church; a gradual.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The Holy Grail.
  • noun poetic Small particles of earth; gravel.
  • noun A book of offices in the Roman Catholic Church; a gradual.
  • noun One of the small feathers of a hawk.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun (legend) chalice used by Christ at the Last Supper
  • noun the object of any prolonged endeavor

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English greal, from Old French graal, from Medieval Latin gradālis, flat dish, of unknown origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old French graal ("cup"), from Medieval Latin gradalis.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French grael, ultimately from Latin graduale.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain; perhaps a reduced form of gravel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Compare Old French graite slender.

Examples

  • Once it turns out that the "grail" is actually Mary

    Romantic Fear

  • The term "grail" comes from the Latin gradale, which meant a dish.

    American Chronicle

  • Our holy grail is the standardized test, even though these tests have been shown to be laughable in tracking student knowledge, biased towards those with more wealth and cultural capital, and destructive in narrowing and dumbing down the curriculum as schools focus on test prep to avoid closure.

    Rick Ayers: It's Time to Decriminalize Learning

  • Our holy grail is the standardized test, even though these tests have been shown to be laughable in tracking student knowledge, biased towards those with more wealth and cultural capital, and destructive in narrowing and dumbing down the curriculum as schools focus on test prep to avoid closure.

    Rick Ayers: It's Time to Decriminalize Learning

  • OLEDS are far superior in brightness and in their compact nature. the holy grail is to make them last more than a few thousand hours. there is also a lot of hope for carbon nanotubes. — dave kliman

    Jumping on the L.E.D. Bandwagon - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com

  • Then, at the beginning of Greenwitch, the grail is stolen back, so they don't have either of the things it took a whole book to get.

    Greenwitch

  • Then, at the beginning of Greenwitch, the grail is stolen back, so they don't have either of the things it took a whole book to get.

    SeeLight:

  • Notice what is in the center of the painting - a "grail" - i.e., chalice!

    Love and Sex in the Renaissance

  • Notice what is in the center of the painting - a "grail" - i.e., chalice!

    Archive 2008-12-01

  • For instance, here's the "grail"-Verse/Response pair for Thursday Vespers in the Octave of Easter.

    Office Hymns of the Octave of Easter

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Arthurian

    February 17, 2008