Learn English – Is “grit and resolve” a popular phrase


In the article of Time (May 5th) titled “Obama aspire to do Big Things,” I noticed Press Secretary Jay Curney used the word, ‘grit and resolve’ followed by “(and) not in a John Wayne way, but in a commitment and focus,” when explaining Bin Laden death in a press interview held on May 2nd.

I guess ‘grit and resolve” simply means “resolute” from the component words. But I’m curious to know whether they (grit and resolve) are often put together like this as an idiom. Can you teach me?

The Press Secretary’s remark containing ‘a grit and resolve’ is as follows:

“Obama has discussed this thematic connection with his aides in the West Wing, explaining that the death of bin Laden signals something far greater than a national security accomplishment. “He views this as a demonstration of this country’s capacity to overcome skeptics and do things that people had decided were no longer doable,” explained Press Secretary Jay Carney, in an interview Monday afternoon. “There is sort of a grit and resolve. And not in a John Wayne way, but in a commitment and focus.”

Best Answer

"Grit and resolve" is a familiar enough phrase in English. Here is a Google NGram showing that its popularity was greatest in the late 19th century, had a resurgence during the First World War, and has enjoyed something of a renaissance since the Reagan years.

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It refers to maintaining a steely, firm-willed determination. It has a martial feel to it, as well as a faintly archaic tang.