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Origin uncertain; the ending was assimilated to iron.

A gridiron



gridiron ‎(plural gridirons)

  1. An instrument of torture on which people were secured before being burned by fire. [from 13th c.]
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, II.32:
      I know, there have been found seely boores, who have rather endure to have their feet broiled upon a Greedyron, their fingers ends crusht and wrung with the lock of a Pistoll, their eyes all bloody to be thrust out of their heads with wringing and wresting of a cord about their foreheads, before they would so much as be ransomed.
  2. An iron rack or grate used for broiling flesh and fish over coals. [from 14th c.]
  3. Any object resembling the rack or grate. [from 15th c.]
  4. (nautical) An openwork frame on which vessels are placed for examination, cleaning, and repairs.
  5. (American football) The field on which American football is played. [from 19th c.]
  6. (uncountable) American football.
    • 1995 October 3, Peter O′Shea, Sports: Out on the field, The Advocate, page 54,
      He represented Australia in this year′s rugby tour of England and is as well-known in Australia as any top gridiron player is in the United States.
    • 2001, Langston Hughes, Dolan Hubbard, Jackie Robinson: First Negro in Big League Baseball: 1919—, The Collected Works of Langston Hughes, Volume 12: Works for Children and Young Adults, page 106,
      So Jackie′s name became known far and wide as an exceptional gridiron player.
    • 2009, Deborah Healey, Sport and the Law, reference note, UNSW Press, page 271,
      119 Yasser (1985) cites the famous US example of gridiron player Dick Butkus of the Chicago Bears.
  7. (Australia and New Zealand) A generic term for American and Canadian football, particularly when used to distinguish from other codes of football.


Related termsEdit



gridiron ‎(third-person singular simple present gridirons, present participle gridironing, simple past and past participle gridironed)

  1. (New Zealand, historical) To purchase land so that the remaining adjacent sections are smaller than the minimum area purchasable as freehold, thus excluding potential freeholders.

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