What Does NITTY-GRITTY Mean?

NITTY-GRITTY means "The Specific Facts or Details." It is also part of the name of "The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band."

Specific Facts or Details

The phrase NITTY-GRITTY is an idiom which means "the Specific Facts or Details." It is argued that the expression has connections with the slave trade, as it may have originally referred to the detritus found in the bottom of a boat after a shipment of slaves had been removed from the hold and, by extension, to the slaves themselves.

Although the connection of NITTY-GRITTY to the slave trade is widely disputed, since at least 2002, police forces in the United Kingdom have banned officers from using the phrase. Also, in 2020, UK broadcaster Sky Sports included NITYY-GRITTY in a list of words and phrases associated with slavery which commentators were reportedly to be banned from saying on air. In 2021, despite this apparent widespread acceptance of the possible origins of the phrase and its potential to cause offense, the BBC television channel in the UK rejected a complaint against political editor Laura Kuenssberg, who used NITTY-GRITTY during a podcast.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is an American country rock band, from Long Beach, California. The group was formed in 1966, and was still touring in 2020. Their song "Fishin' In The Dark," from the album "Fishin' In The Dark: The Best Of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band," reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs in 1987.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Fishin' In The Dark (Official Audio)


When I write NITTY-GRITTY, I mean this:

meaning of NITTY-GRITTY

NITTY-GRITTY means "The Specific Facts or Details," but its origins may be controversial.

Summary of Key Points

First Definition of Nitty-Gritty

"The Specific Facts or Details" is the most common definition for NITTY-GRITTY on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Here is some more information about NITTY-GRITTY.
Definition:The Specific Facts or Details
Type:Word (Idiom)
Guessability:guessability level 2

2: Quite easy to guess

Typical Users:typical user


Second Definition of Nitty-Gritty

NITTY GRITTY is also part of the name of the "Nitty Gritty Dirt Band."
Definition:Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Guessability:guessability level 4

4: Difficult to guess

Typical Users:typical user


Examples of NITTY-GRITTY in Sentences

Here are examples of NITTY-GRITTY being used in conversations, with the meaning "The Specific Facts or Details":
  • Sal: OK, let's get down to the NITTY-GRITTY.
  • Toni: Whoa, slow up! Aren't you going to ask me my name first?
  • Sam: Any advice on what desktop computer I should buy?
  • Al: Well, before getting into the NITTY-GRITTY of makes, models, etc., you'll have to tell me your budget.

An Academic Look at NITTY-GRITTY

"NITTY GRITTY" is an idiom; i.e., a commonly used expression whose meaning does not relate to the literal meaning of its words. Here are some other common idioms:
  • He's been pushing up the daisies for a year.
  • (He's been dead for a year.)
  • Let's paint the town red.
  • (Let's have a good time in town.)

Example of NITTY-GRITTY Used in a Text

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