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grummet | grommet, n.2

Forms:  Also 16 gromit, 17–18 gromet.(Show Less)
Frequency (in current use): 
Etymology: < French gromette (15th cent. in Hatzfeld & Darmesteter), now gourmette curb of a bridle, < gourmer to curb, of unknown origin.
Chiefly Naut. and Mil.
  A ring or wreath of rope, spec. one consisting of a single strand laid three times round.

 a. One of those used to secure the upper edge of a sail to its stay.

1626   J. Smith Accidence Young Sea-men 12   Grummets and staples for all yeards.
1627   J. Smith Sea Gram. v. 25   Caskets are..small ropes..made fast to the gromits or rings vpon the yards.
1644   H. Mainwaring Sea-mans Dict.   Grommets are little rings which are made fast to the upper-side of the yard, with staples, which are driven into the yard; which have no other use but to tie and make fast the Casketts into them.
1769   W. Falconer Universal Dict. Marine Transl. French Terms,   Bague, a small grommet, or wreath of an eye-let hole in a sail.
1877   W. Thomson Voy. Challenger I. ii. 114   Because our education has been sadly neglected in the matter of cringles and toggles and grummets.

1626—1877(Hide quotations)


 b. A ring of rope used as a substitute for a rowlock in a boat. (Also applied to an eyelet of metal serving the same purpose.)

1802   Trans. Soc. Arts 20 289   With iron tholes and rope grommets.
1834   F. Marryat Peter Simple II. xiv. 237   The oars of the boats were fitted to pull with grummets upon iron thole-pins.
1883   Great Internat. Fisheries Exhib. Catal. 46   Six-oared yawl..pulled with one thole-pin..and a grummet.

1802—1883(Hide quotations)


 c. A wad for keeping the shot steady in the bore when firing at a depression.

1828   J. M. Spearman Brit. Gunner Notes 16   By discarding the pincers, and applying grummets or wood bottoms to the shells in lieu of them.
1861   Times 7 June 5/3   The grummets fit the bore of the gun exactly and act as wads, allowing the base of the shell to rest in close contact with the charge.

1828—1861(Hide quotations)


 d. In other connections: see quots.

1775   N. D. Falck Philos. Diss. Diving Vessel 26   When I had taken my proper land-marks, I secured my sweep with a grummet.
1869   E. J. Reed Shipbuilding xxi. 467   In order to prevent leakage through the bolt-holes, hempen grummets saturated with paint are placed between the nuts and the plating.
1874   F. G. D. Bedford Sailor's Pocket Bk. viii. 239   The ends of the whip should..be made fast to the grummets on the side of the life buoy.
1888   W. C. Russell Death Ship III. 244,   I discovered a rope grummet or hempen hook fastened to the larboard horn.
1892   Edinb. Rev. Apr. 479   A thick grummet of rope round his loins.
1881   W. C. Russell Ocean Free-lance II. iv. 193   Round the horizon was stretched what sailors would call a ‘grummet’ of sooty vapour.

1775—1892(Hide quotations)


 e. A washer used to insulate electric conductors passing through a hole in a conducting material.

1942   Electronic Engin. 15 303   The power cord should have been threaded through that grommet first.
1959   B.S.I. News June 10/2   Tiny grommets for aircraft instruments.

1942—1959(Hide quotations)


 f. A stiffener used inside a Service cap.

1953   J. Masefield Conway (ed. 2) iii. 164   Next term, arriving back with no grommet in my cap as an ‘old hand’, and promptly being told to put it back.
1956   W. A. Heflin U.S. Air Force Dict. 236/2   Grommet, a ring-like device of rubber, roll cloth, or metal used inside the top of the service cap to keep it tightly stretched.

1953—1956(Hide quotations)



  attrib. and Comb.

  grummet-hole   n. a hole bound by a ring of rope.

1856   E. K. Kane Arctic Explor. I. xviii. 218   To run the tent-poles through grummet-holes in the canvas.

1856—1856(Hide quotations)


  grummet-iron   n. a toggle-iron ( Cent. Dict.).


  grummet strop   n. a strop made like a grummet.

c1860   H. Stuart Novices or Young Seaman's Catech. (rev. ed.) 30   How do you make a grummet strop?

c1860—c1860(Hide quotations)


  grummet-wad   n. (see quot.: = c).

1867   W. H. Smyth & E. Belcher Sailor's Word-bk.   Grommet-wad, a ring made of 1½ or 2 inch rope, having attached to it two cross-pieces or diameters of the same material; it acts by the ends of these pieces biting on the interior of the bore of the gun.

1867—1867(Hide quotations)


Draft additions  1993


  Surg. A small plastic tube inserted into a hole made in the eardrum, to enable excess fluid to drain from the middle ear and for ventilation.

1966   Jrnl. Laryngol. & Otol. 80 1048   Within recent years,..evidence has accumulated that the polythene grommet now in standard use..may prove..a most promising pointer in the correct direction.
1972   K. Rotter Ear, Nose & Throat for Nurses (ed. 3) xvi. 121   The middle ear is then ventilated by means of a ‘grommet’, a small plastic dumb-bell-shaped tube which is inserted into the opening in the drum.
1989   J. A. B. Collier & J. M. Longmore Oxf. Handbk. Clin. Specialties (ed. 2) vii. 538   If fluid persists for longer than 6 weeks myringotomy, suction of fluid, and insertion of grommets should be considered to keep the middle ear ventilated and restore hearing.
1990   N. Williams Wimbledon Poisoner i. ii. 13   She was slapped down in front of him like a British Rail sandwich, garnished with a series of medical complaints. ‘She needs grommets!’ Elinor would squawk, pointing at her daughter.

1966—1990(Hide quotations)


This entry has not yet been fully updated (first published 1900).

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