Definition of nitty-gritty in US English:



the nitty-gritty
  • The most important aspects or practical details of a subject or situation.

    ‘let's get down to the nitty-gritty of finding a job’
    as modifier ‘the nitty-gritty details’
    • ‘It's time to break out of that shell and deal with the nitty-gritty details of your relationships.’
    • ‘Your academic advisor should help you, but they aren't always aware of the nitty-gritty details.’
    • ‘Otherwise I am usually involved with the nitty-gritty of dance as a performer and teacher.’
    • ‘Well, certainly it seems they are getting down to the nitty-gritty of some really serious fighting up in the hills behind me.’
    • ‘Then we got down to the nitty-gritty, asking whether people thought the development should go ahead.’
    • ‘Kevin's all over the nitty-gritty details of the relevant documents.’
    • ‘The students were eager to know about the nitty-gritty of Civil Services.’
    • ‘There are other issues coming up as they work through the nitty-gritty details of this plan.’
    • ‘They serve a useful function, surely, do all the nitty-gritty dirty work, and make their clients rich in the process.’
    • ‘But when it came down to the nitty-gritty, he showed what a coward he was.’
    • ‘It's almost as if all the initial chat and wine is a warm-up to the nitty-gritty, the heart of the matter, which is sharing secrets.’
    • ‘However, few investors would claim to understand the nitty-gritty of its business.’
    • ‘It's very varied and sometimes you can be dealing with the nitty-gritty side of things like maintenance of the ground.’
    • ‘Eight years embroiled in the nitty-gritty of Glasgow City Council as a councillor for Pollok has taught him a lot, he says.’
    • ‘He got his details from the nitty-gritty of our everyday lives.’
    • ‘The book features also sections on planning and on the nitty-gritty of writing and producing a Web site.’
    • ‘What he needs to be praised for is not the nitty-gritty rate changes but the broad direction of reform that he has resolved to continue and strengthen.’
    • ‘However, the reliance on overlong interviews, dealing with the nitty-gritty of economic practices, really slows things down.’
    • ‘But when it comes to the nitty-gritty, it seems no one is prepared to put their money where their mouth is.’
    • ‘George, stay on that white horse and remember to leave the nitty-gritty to me.’
    basics, essentials, essence, essential part, main point, fundamental point, fundamentals, substance, heart of the matter, nub, core, heart, centre, quintessence, point, crux, gist, salient point, focal point, nucleus, meat, pith, kernel, marrow, burden
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1960s: of unknown origin.