Definition of nitty-gritty in 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 very varied and sometimes you can be dealing with the nitty-gritty side of things like maintenance of the ground.’
    • ‘They serve a useful function, surely, do all the nitty-gritty dirty work, and make their clients rich in the process.’
    • ‘Kevin's all over the nitty-gritty details of the relevant documents.’
    • ‘But when it comes to the nitty-gritty, it seems no one is prepared to put their money where their mouth is.’
    • ‘Eight years embroiled in the nitty-gritty of Glasgow City Council as a councillor for Pollok has taught him a lot, he says.’
    • ‘It's time to break out of that shell and deal with the nitty-gritty details of your relationships.’
    • ‘Then we got down to the nitty-gritty, asking whether people thought the development should go ahead.’
    • ‘The book features also sections on planning and on the nitty-gritty of writing and producing a Web site.’
    • ‘The students were eager to know about the nitty-gritty of Civil Services.’
    • ‘However, the reliance on overlong interviews, dealing with the nitty-gritty of economic practices, really slows things down.’
    • ‘Your academic advisor should help you, but they aren't always aware of the nitty-gritty details.’
    • ‘He got his details from the nitty-gritty of our everyday lives.’
    • ‘Otherwise I am usually involved with the nitty-gritty of dance as a performer and teacher.’
    • ‘However, few investors would claim to understand the nitty-gritty of its business.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There are other issues coming up as they work through the nitty-gritty details of this plan.’
    • ‘George, stay on that white horse and remember to leave the nitty-gritty to me.’
    • ‘Well, certainly it seems they are getting down to the nitty-gritty of some really serious fighting up in the hills behind 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
    hard work, slog, toil, labour, donkey work, drudgery
    brass tacks, nuts and bolts
    View synonyms


1960s: of unknown origin.