Grub Street


      • poverty
        Describing a state of extreme poverty and deprivation, often in relation to writers or artists who struggle to make a living off their work

      • low-quality writing
        Referring to works of literature or journalism that are poorly written or of little value, often due to the author's lack of talent or skill

      • struggling writers
        Referring to a community or group of writers who are struggling to make a living or achieve success in their field, often due to the competitive nature of the industry

    Examples of Grub Street

    • He dreams of becoming a famous author, but some say he's selling out by constantly churning out cheap, formulaic novels that are aimed at the Grub Street market.

      Grub Street was originally a street in London where many writers and journalists lived and worked during the 17th and 18th centuries. Today, the term "Grub Street" is used to describe writers who are more concerned with commercial success and making money than with artistic merit or literary value. In this context, "Grub Street" can be used as both a noun and an adjective.

    • She's been spending months researching her latest novel, but some people are already calling it a Grub Street bestseller because of the controversy surrounding its theme.

      In this example, "Grub Street" is used as an adjective to describe a book that is widely popular, but perhaps not of the highest literary quality. This use of the term is somewhat derogatory, implying that the book may be popular because of its sensational or provocative subject matter, rather than its literary merit.

    • After years of struggling to make a living as a writer, she finally hit it big with a Grub Street blockbuster that sold millions of copies and was turned into a major motion picture.

      In this example, "Grub Street" is used as a noun to describe a specific type of book or writing that is popular and commercially successful, but perhaps not of the highest literary quality. In this context, "Grub Street" can be used somewhat disparagingly, implying that the book may prioritize commercial success over artistic merit.

    • He's been working on his novel for years, but every time he submits it to publishers, they reject it, saying it's not commercial enough and won't sell on the Grub Street market.

      In this example, "Grub Street market" is used to describe the demand for certain types of writing or books that are popular and commercially successful. This use of the term implies that some publishers are more interested in books that will sell well and make money than in books of literary merit or artistic value. This phrase can also be used in a broader sense to describe the demand for certain types of content in various media, such as newspapers, magazines, or online platforms.

    • The aspiring writer struggled to make a name for herself in the cut-throat world of Grub Street.

      Grub Street refers to the literary scene in London during the 17th and 18th centuries, where many writers sold their work to publishers in order to earn a living. Today, the term is used more generally to describe the world of freelance writing, where writers compete for assignments in order to make money.

    • After years of writing for Grub Street publications, the author finally secured a lucrative publishing deal.

      In this example, "Grub Street" is being used as a metaphor to describe the often-difficult process of breaking into the publishing industry. The author's perseverance has paid off, as they have been able to move beyond the lower-paying Grub Street publications and secure a more prestigious publishing deal.

    • Some people criticize writers for selling out by taking on Grub Street assignments, but the reality is that it takes a lot of hard work and perseverance to make a living in the writing industry.

      In this example, "Grub Street" is being used as a pejorative term to describe lower-paying or less prestigious writing opportunities. However, the speaker argues that these opportunities are still necessary for many writers who are just starting out, and that it takes a lot of grit and determination to succeed in the industry.

    • The author's decision to focus on Grub Street assignments instead of pursuing a traditional publishing deal was a calculated risk, but it has allowed them to build a loyal following and gain valuable experience.

      In this example, "Grub Street" is being used to describe the world of self-publishing and digital media, where writers have more control over their work but may not receive the same level of prestige or financial remuneration as authors published by traditional houses. The author in this example has made a conscious choice to take advantage of the opportunities presented by Grub Street, in order to build their brand and gain exposure.


    The idiom "Grub Street" is commonly used to describe poverty, particularly in the context of writers or artists who are struggling to make a living off their work. It is also used to refer to low-quality writing, often implying that the author lacks talent or skill. Additionally, the phrase can be used to describe a community or group of struggling writers in a competitive industry.

    Origin of "Grub Street"

    The origin of this idiom can be traced back to the 17th and 18th centuries in London, England. During this time, Grub Street was a real street in the city that was known for its poverty and for being home to many struggling writers and journalists. The area was also known for its cheap, often rundown lodging houses where these writers would reside.

    The term "Grub Street" was first used in a satirical poem by Alexander Pope in 1730, titled "The Dunciad." In this poem, Pope uses the term to mock the low-quality writing and lack of literary merit of the writers who resided on Grub Street. Over time, the term became associated with poverty and struggling writers, and has since been used in various literary works and in everyday language to describe similar situations.