What Does Daily Grind Mean?

The Daily Grind Meaning

Definition: Monotonous day-to-day life.

An expression that uses this metaphor is back to the daily grind or simply back to the grind.

Origin of Daily Grind

This expression first started appearing in print during the mid-1800s. It comes from the verb grind, which means to rub a material with force to break it into tiny pieces. People often grind grain, for example.

The verb grind, in the literal sense, dates back to before the year 950. By the 1600s, people had begun to use it metaphorically. They related the crushing of materials to the crushing feeling of political oppression, or other feelings of being worn down. This metaphoric usage is the same as in the idiom the daily grind.

The idea behind the daily grind is that if a person’s routine does not vary greatly from day to day, the boredom can become crushing.

Examples of Daily Grind

back to the grind meaningIn this example, two co-workers are talking about their upcoming vacation time.

Rodrigo: I hate that this job doesn’t offer vacation time until after you’ve already worked here for a year.

Alisha: I know. It’s not fair. I really need a break from the daily grind! I come here and work all day, doing the same tasks over and over again, and then I do it all again the next day. A vacation would really help me feel refreshed and energized.

back to the grind definitionIn the example below, two siblings are discussing the careers they would like to have after graduating from college.

Luis: Do you know what you are going to major in?

Stephanie: No, not yet. Why?

Luis: I want to know what major is the best now, so I have plenty of time to work towards earning all of the necessary credits. I’ve seen so many people with promising talent accept a job that they hate. I want to make sure I get a job that I love.

Stephanie: That makes sense. You want to find a job you’re passionate about.

Luis: Exactly. I don’t want to just suffer through the daily grind for my entire life.

More Examples

This example below is the headline of an article about how the idea of retirement years is changing.

  • No end to the daily grind? Older Americans plan to work in retirement –USA Today

This excerpt is about a company that is giving non-smoking employees six more days of vacation than smoking employees.

  • An associate at Piala Inc. in Japan believed that the non-smokers were working more than those who took routine breaks from the daily grind to step outside for a puff and decided to be (sort of) vocal about it. –New York Daily News


The term daily grind refers to the crushing boredom of an everyday routine. A phrase that uses this term is back to the grind.