Grill vs. Grille – What’s the Difference?

Homophones are words that sound alike, but are spelled differently and mean different things.

Grill and grille are homophones. It is impossible to discern any difference between them based on their pronunciations alone, but their meanings are actually completely different.

What is the Difference Between Grill and Grille?

In this post, I will compare grill vs. grille. I will use each of these words in at least one example sentence, so you can see them in context.

Plus, I will show you a memory tool that will help you decide whether to use grill or grille in your own writing.

When to Use Grill

Definition of grille definition and definition of grill definitionWhat does grill mean? Grill can be a verb or a noun.

As a verb, grill means to cook something on such a device or to question rigorously.

For example,

  • I am going to grill some tasty meat in the backyard for Memorial Day.
  • The senator grilled the witness on a litany of completely irrelevant topics.

As a noun, grill can mean a device for cooking food or a type of restaurant.

For example,

  • Fire up the grill; let’s make some burgers!
  • I’m meeting him at the bar & grill on 32nd street; I’ll text you if I need to be rescued.
  • Lacking money for a custom grill, Mr. Morataya built his own, with bricks that he rearranges depending on what he is cooking, which might be amberjack or a whole pig; the charcoal is made from driftwood. –The New York Times

When to Use Grille

Define grille and define grillWhat does grille mean? Grille is a noun. It means a protective metal latticework, like on the front of a car, on an air conditioner vent, or, somewhat imaginatively, the front teeth of a person who is unconcerned with dental health.

For example,

  • Mark’s car had a shiny chrome grille, but it was spattered with bugs and chipped by gravel.
  • The intake was protected by an aluminum grille that stopped birds and debris from getting inside it.
  • The Lexus’s spindle grille—in F Sport trim comprising a warped field of black plastic webbing, outlined in lustrous alloy lips—is the brand singularity, drawing us toward a Lexus badge with arrows pointing to it from all sides, including the LED headlamps and arrowhead pointed bezels of the cornering lamps. –The Wall Street Journal

Technically, grille does not have anything to do with food. Still, many restaurants use grille instead of grill to establish an elevated sense of formality. As you can see from the below chart, which graphs grille vs. grill in English books since 1800, this usage is fairly rare in published English.

grill versus grille

While chart isn’t exhaustive in its scope, it can still illustrate a clear long-term usage trend, though.

Even though grille is sometimes misused for grill, and is gaining acceptance, using grill to describe a protective latticework is still considered a mistake.

Trick to Remember the Difference

How do you spell grill? If you are talking about food, you should use grill, unless you are talking about a specific restaurant that uses grille in its name, in which case grille would be acting as a proper noun.

  • Grill is the proper spelling of this word for both a cooking device and a type of restaurant.
  • Grille only refers to a protective metal grid, and is never a verb. Grill cannot be substituted here.

Since grill and Philly, a type of cheesesteak sandwich often available at pubs, both contain a double L but no E, you can remember to reserve this spelling of the word for contexts involving food.

Summary

Is it grill or grille? Grill and grille are homophones.

  • Grill is either a cooking device or a type of restaurant.
  • Grille refers to a protective metal latticework.

They should never be interchanged, although some restaurants use grille anyway. If you don’t know whether grille or grill is the right choice for your sentence, you can check back with this article reference.

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