football gridiron


Senior Member
On the left side of the storage shed –again –there was life. Tools (all locked down in frames crisscrossed with chains, as if they were carbine rifles instead of spades and pickaxes), dry goods, sacks of seeds for spring planting in the prison gardens, boxes of toilet paper, pallets cross-loaded with blanks for the prison plate-shop ... even bags of lime for marking out the baseball diamond and the football gridiron –the cons played in what was known as The Pasture, and fall afternoons were greatly looked forward to at Cold Mountain.
Source: The Green Mile by Stephen King

I gloss gridiron football is American football. What about football gridiron? Is this a syntax (word order) mishap? I find the diction (word choice) confusing.

Thank you .
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    The syntax is fine: it talks about using lime to create the lines needed for a baseball diamond or an American Football game (see picture).



    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    One meaning of "gridiron" is an American football field. Sports announcers talk about things happening "on the gridiron" instead of "on the field", just to sound colorful by using different words.

    The other meaning of "gridiron" is a thing you cook meat on (see picture). The word has been used with that meaning for hundreds of years.

    As you suggest, people started (in 1896) using this word to mean a football field because the lines on the field reminded them of a gridiron.

    gridiron.jpegtoy football field.jpg
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