Definition of grist in US English:



  • 1Grain that is ground to make flour.

    • ‘The reintroduction of a deeply resented tax on grist in the former papal provinces of Emilia and Romagna provoked widespread unrest in the late 1860s.’
    • ‘Also buried here is a son, Sherwood White, who operated a grist mill on Second Creek a few miles west of Rogersville.’
    • ‘Census of 1861 reported that there were 13 flour and grist mills operating in Simcoe County.’
    • ‘The owners of early 19 th-century New England grist mills were usually rather prosperous men, and like most of the population at that time, the majority were farmers.’
    kernel, seed, fruit
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Malt crushed to make mash for brewing.
      • ‘At the distillery, the barley is milled to produce grist, to which heated spring water is added.’
  • 2Useful material, especially to back up an argument.

    ‘the research provided the most sensational grist for opponents of tobacco’
    • ‘The sheer number of fighting vehicles and crack German and Russian divisions engaging in combat there provides grist for any reader of military history, casual or professional.’
    • ‘But the apparent paradoxes generate great grist for mystery mongers.’
    • ‘They found grist for their conspiracy theories in the most innocent of details.’
    • ‘The grist was plentiful for Barstow, part of a two-man Times team whose reports on workplace safety were entered in both the investigative reporting and public service categories.’
    • ‘Independent researchers are supposed to provide a counterbalance, thwarting the drug industry's tendency to turn research studies into marketing grist.’
    • ‘This subject is interesting grist for graduate seminars, but campus leaders have limited options when faced with a finite budget and rising demand for educational programs and services.’
    • ‘The primary thrust has been to provide greater grist for litigation, rather than tackling the hard work of defining acceptable conduct.’
    • ‘This result will be grist for many theoretical papers no doubt, but at the moment we have no understanding of why it is so.’
    • ‘And what made the book so important was that it provided grist for a debate which was going on in Washington last year between the Pentagon's civilian political appointees and those in uniform.’
    • ‘All of that is good grist for Winchester, who summarizes the grand debates on evolution and even pauses at one point to provide a refresher course in geology in the form of a walk through rockscapes of his childhood.’
    • ‘With the biblical passages you've given me (especially that one from Luke 22), you've given my mind enough grist to turn over for the next couple of weeks.’
    • ‘If the adversaries can't agree on a ‘fair’ plea, one side holds out until the other blinks, or they duke it out in trial, where relevant facts are the grist for a good defense.’
    • ‘When those returns are compiled in a single report, they become a story of failure and grist for the ‘I told you so’ crowd and the budgeteers who see reason to strip money for the system from the next budget.’
    • ‘If that's the case, Dr. Robison's thorough refutation of the conventional wisdom on childhood obesity ought to provide ample grist for the next round of stories on America's battle with the bulge.’
    • ‘Their failure provides grist for conservative educational ideologues to victim-bash and propagate the phony notion of chronic black educational incompetence.’
    • ‘The grist of commercial radio also is relationships, with callers discussing the range of concerns from distribution of money for food and school fees, to domestic violence, alcoholism, affairs, and recipes.’
    • ‘Documents just made public may provide grist for his opponents.’
    • ‘All experience is grist; but he can't plant his easel before a nude, a still-life, a landscape, nor transform a personality tangle into a sonnet-sequence or a novella.’
    • ‘There is no doubt that this chronological telling, which is scrupulously accurate in its lengthy citations of Luther's writings, provides abundant grist for anti - Protestant polemics.’
    • ‘Furthermore, the multiple perspectives may offer the grist needed for marshaling varied arguments on local levels.’


  • grist for the mill

    • Useful experience, material, or knowledge.

      • ‘But it will fall back to a level of immobility and indecisiveness that can only add grist to the mill of the neoliberals.’
      • ‘James Joyce valued the everyday, but only if it could be grist to the mill of his highly formal art.’
      • ‘But what is needed first is intellectual grist to the mill - serious ideas discussed by good minds, widely debated, offering the public something to get its teeth into.’
      • ‘There's no such thing as a bad experience, it's all just grist to the mill.’
      • ‘The shape of the market is going to change but this will be more grist to our mill.’
      • ‘The inevitable violence of their response was grist to his mill.’
      • ‘If you can think of any more good ones, then please let me know; it will all be grist to my mill.’
      • ‘He is a great talker, a charming and incurable optimist, and everything is grist to his mill.’
      • ‘Gun control, crime statistics, global warming and passive smoking are grist to his mill.’
      • ‘It all adds grist to the mill of those who claim that unless trained police officers are in charge, corners will always be cut by firms with one eye on the profit margin.’


Old English ‘grinding’, of Germanic origin; related to grind.