Word Confusion: Grill versus Grille

Posted May 25, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

This one does crack me up. Oh, not because of the word confusion as either spelling seems to be acceptable, but the whole idea of grilles for your teeth. I mean, ewww. I’m not sayin’ they’re wrong. And I am at that age that most would consider me an old fart, so that may well have a bearing on my opinions, but I think those ostentatious grilles are so tacky. And how do you clean in between them and your teeth? Do you get caught in someone’s grille if you get to kissing them too intensely? Can you imagine picking out grilled corn kernels from in between?

If I’m gonna get excited about grilles, it’ll be because some beautifully ornate grilles are covering the heat vents in my friends’ house. Or checkin’ out the grilles on a hot car. I see grilles on somebody’s teeth, my first reaction is gonna be “huh”? My second reaction? Laughter followed by snickers. Hmmm, Snickers, gotta go. Gotta find my stash…

Yeah, I get excited about grills too. Mmm, mm, mmmm… Steaks, hamburgers, grilled veggies…yum! Just don’t grill me on my favorite grilled foods!

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Grill Grille
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Urban Dictionary: grille

Weber barbecue grill

Image by Martin Steiger [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons.

A Weber grill cooking meats.

The grille on a Rolls Royce

Image by B.Zsolt (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A 1965 Silver Cloud III Flying Spur four-door saloon.

Part of Grammar:

Also: grilling
Variant spelling of: grille

Verb, transitive

Past tense or past participle: grilled
Gerund or Present participle: grilling

Noun 1, 2

2 is frequently spelled grill

A metal framework used for cooking food over an open fire

  • A gridiron
  • A portable device for cooking outdoors, consisting of a metal framework placed over charcoal or gas fuel
  • A dish of food, especially meat, cooked using a grill
  • [Also grill room] A restaurant serving grilled food

Verb, transitive:
Cook something using a grill

[Informal] Subject someone to intense questioning or interrogation

A grating or screen of metal bars or wires, placed in front of something as protection or to allow ventilation or discreet observation 1

The front opening on a car or truck designed to allow air to pass through to the engine and radiator

Your mouth, teeth 2

  • A cosmetic dental apparatus or any number of such apparatii affixed to the central and lateral incisors for purposes of “blinging”
Dean better clean the grill before our barbecue this weekend.

Tom is looking forward to a summer of grilled steak.

I love the Chipotle Mexican Grill.

They faced a grilling over the latest results.

Verb, transitive:
Grill the salmon for about five minutes.

We were grilled about the party by his dad.

My husband is going to kill me. I dented the grille on his Mercedes.

Man, you gettin’ all up in my grille!

I just ordered a new racing grille for my Civic.

My grampa just got a gold grille for his dentures, and damn do they shine.

Many historic homes have decorative grilles over their heating vents.

History of the Word:
Mid-17th century from the French gril (noun), griller (verb), from Old French graille meaning grille. 1 First known use: 1686

Mid-17th century from the French, from the medieval Latin craticula, a diminutive of cratis meaning hurdle.

2 Early 1980s

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C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?