According to psychologist Angela Duckworth and colleagues, "grit" is defined as "perseverance and passion for long-term goals".

What would be the closest term for "grit" in Chinese?

Google gives me "sand" and "gravel" as its meaning.

砂砾 (shālì) = gravel 沙子 (shāzi) = sand 粗砂石 (cū shā shí) = coarse sandstone

Thanks, Nate PS. I've also inquired Professor Duckworth and still waiting for her response.

  • see online dictionaries: iciba.com/grit <口>刚毅,坚韧; 勇气; Fortitude, tenacity, courage, fortitude, perseverance, courage, 你不得不佩服她的勇气。 Linguee 我 們現在 知 道市民 亟 能 發 揮憐憫 、 堅毅 、 獻 身 和 犧牲的 精神。 bkrs:刚毅 fortitude;刚毅并不是他的性格 (mostly used as adjective, e.g.刚毅的性格) 坚韧:adjective 坚韧不拔的战士 勇气[courage; nerve] 勇往直前无所畏惧的气魄。 堅毅 firm; with inflexible will, unswerving determination
    – user6065
    Commented May 15, 2019 at 3:11
  • Thanks for the reference.
    – Nate
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 5:19

2 Answers 2


毅力 (n)

perserverance; willpower

He has grit = 他有毅力


堅毅 (adj)

be strong-willed and perseverant

He is very gritty = 他很堅毅


堅毅 (n)

strong will and perserverance

This grittiness = 這份堅毅

Example sentence:

  • 推行革命要有毅力 - Carrying out the revolution requires perseverance (grit)

  • 堅毅的人能衝出困境,走向高峯 - perseverant (gritty) people can break out of predicament and get to the top

  • 成功全憑民眾的一股毅力/成功全憑民眾的一份堅毅 - Success depends on the perseverance (grittiness) of the people

  • Thank you for the clear answer.
    – Nate
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 5:19

You should offer a sentence, because the translation will vary, depending on context.

grit is sand or gravel!

Sense of "pluck, spirit, firmness of mind" first recorded American English, 1808.

Duckworth's idiomatic definition is, well, not worth a duck, in my opinion.

Here grit is 毅力, willpower

If they gave gold medals for grit, Karen would be right up there on the winners' podium.

but you might choose 勇气 courage or 坚韧不拔。

  • Thank you for the response.
    – Nate
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 5:19

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