A dictionary definition of the verb grill, other than to broil on a gridiron, is “to question relentlessly, to cross-examine.” In its classic movie application, it’s what cops do to a sweating suspect who is seated in a chair under a single light bulb, with the cops threatening with rubber hoses. In journalese, it’s anyone, usually a politician, being asked questions. Grill is a short, punchy verb, great in a headline.
What brings this up is a use in an AP story, Aug. 29, 2017, under a Boston Globe headline, “Government lawyer faces court grilling on travel ban.” The story was about a hearing by a three judge appeals court, in a case about Trump’s ban of entry into the US of visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria. and Yemen. Those having a close relationship with someone already in the USA would be allowed entry. The AP reported: “The judges grilled Justice Department lawyer Hashim Mooppan.”
Well, the judges did raise some tough questions, such as why the ban allowed entry to in-laws having close family relationship but not grand-parents. Judge Richard Paez asked, “Could you explain to me what’s significantly different between a grandparent and a mother-in-law or father-in-law? What is so different about these two categories? One is in and one is out.”
File under: How do you like yours grilled: rare, medium-rare, well-done?
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