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

  • noun The field of play.
  • noun The game itself.
  • noun A metal structure high above the stage of a theater, from which ropes or cables are strung to scenery and lights.
  • noun A flat framework of parallel metal bars used for broiling meat or fish.
  • noun An object resembling such a framework.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To cover with parallel lines or bars, like those of a gridiron: often said of railroads, as giving such an appearance to the map.
  • noun A grated utensil for broiling flesh and fish over coals or in front of a fire-grate, usually a square frame with a handle, short legs, and transverse bars.
  • noun A frame formed of cross-beams of wood or iron, on which a ship rests for inspection or repair at low water; a grid.
  • noun In Amer. foot-ball, a trivial term applied to the field of play, in allusion to the fact that it is crossed by transverse white lines every five yards. It is also sometimes called a checker-board, because recent rules provide for longitudinal lines as well.
  • noun A structure of planks erected above the stage of a theater to support the mechanism by which the drop-scenes, etc., are worked.

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

  • noun A grated iron utensil for broiling flesh and fish over coals.
  • noun (Naut.) An openwork frame on which vessels are placed for examination, cleaning, and repairs.
  • noun (Sport) A football field; -- so called because of the resemblance of the parallel marked yard lines to a gridiron{1}.
  • noun See under Pendulum.
  • noun (Steam Engine) a slide valve with several parallel perforations corresponding to openings in the seat on which the valve moves.

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

  • noun uncountable American football.
  • noun A generic term for American and Canadian football, particularly when used to distinguish from other codes of football.

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

  • noun a cooking utensil of parallel metal bars; used to grill fish or meat
  • noun the playing field on which football is played


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

[Middle English gridirne, lattice, grill, alteration (influenced by iren, irne, iron) of gridere, alteration of gridel; see griddle.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain; the ending was assimilated to iron.


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  • No wonder gridiron players get paid so much, that game must be hell.

    I'm trying to imagine a WeirdNET superbowl here with two teams of highly athletic barbecue chefs ...

    December 5, 2007

  • St. Lawrence of Rome is said to have been martyred on an outdoor gridiron. Legend says that during his torture Lawrence cried out "I am already roasted on one side and, if thou wouldst have me well cooked, it is time to turn me on the other." Today statues of St. Lawrence usually depict him standing next to a gridiron.

    January 25, 2008

  • Christ Church St Laurence in Sydney is sometimes jocularly referred to as "Christ Church St Barbeque".

    April 10, 2008

  • It has been said that just as Australia has all the weirdest animals in the world, so North America has all the weirdest sports.

    April 10, 2008