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grate (verb) make a harsh noise; have an unpleasant effect.
When two hard and rough surfaces rub against each other, they produce a very unpleasant noise. That is, the surfaces grate to produce the unpleasant sound. The chalk grates against the blackboard if it produces an unpleasant noise as it moves on the surface of the blackboard. 'The door grated as it turned on the rusty hinge.' This means, when the door turned on the rusty hinge it made an unpleasant noise. When something has an unpleasant effect on you, or annoys you, it grates on you. It grates on your nerves. The noise of machines working in a factory grates on our nerves. That is, it is unpleasant and annoys us.
- The machine, long in disuse, began to grate on its wheels, when the workers tried to move it out of the place for repairs.
- Already exhausted from day's work, Charlie complained that his wife's words about his leaving some tasks unfinished grated on his nerves.