When something is grating, it's extremely harsh and irritating, like the grating sound of your alarm clock early on a Monday morning.

As an adjective, grating is particularly good for describing unpleasant sounds, like the grating voice of someone who's nagging you. As a noun, a grating is an object in the shape of a grid, with parallel bars forming regular squares or rectangles. This kind of grating is often used as a cover for an opening, like the grating that covers a storm drain in the gutter or an exhaust fan in the ceiling.

Definitions of grating
  1. adjective
    unpleasantly harsh or grating in sound
    synonyms: gravelly, rasping, raspy, rough, scratchy
    cacophonic, cacophonous
    having an unpleasant sound
  2. adjective
    causing irritation or annoyance
  3. noun
    a barrier that has parallel or crossed bars blocking a passage but admitting air
    synonyms: grate
    see moresee less
    grille, radiator grille
    grating that admits cooling air to car's radiator
    type of:
    a structure or object that impedes free movement
  4. noun
    a frame of iron bars to hold a fire
    synonyms: grate
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a structure supporting or containing something
  5. noun
    optical device consisting of a surface with many parallel grooves in it; disperses a beam of light (or other electromagnetic radiation) into its wavelengths to produce its spectrum
    synonyms: diffraction grating
    see moresee less
    a diffraction grating consisting of a pile of plates of equal thickness arranged stepwise with a constant offset
    type of:
    optical device
    a device for producing or controlling light
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week