Grill vs Grille - Each sounds the same, but are spelled slightly different and have altogether different meanings.
English can often seem like a funny language in general. Then, on top of it, similar sounding words make matters worse, and without knowing the differences, we incorrectly keep using the words interchangeably.
Grill and Grille are known as homophonic heterographs - sound the same, different written form. Misuse of these two words happens from not knowing the real differences.
Grill (noun), according to Merriam-Webster, means “a cooking utensil of parallel bars on which food is exposed to heat (as from charcoal or electricity).”
Grille (noun), according to Merriam-Webster, means “a metal frame with bars running across it that is used to cover or protect something,” like the front of a car or on an air conditioner.
Though the definitions above chalked out the main differences, there are still other differences and clarification on more wrong usages.
You cook on a grill.
Another use of grill is when talking about 'relentless questioning'. Here it's used as a metaphor by referring to roasting something over hot coals.
So, one meaning of grill refers to a metal rack or a cooking process involving direct heat and another is non-stop questioning.
Now we already know that grille is a metal screen that allows air ventilation.
But, what about restaurant names? Grille is often used in the place of grill when naming restaurants —e.g., Capital Grille, American Pub & Grille, or Zooby’s Grille & Sports Bar.
There’s no particular reason behind this though.
It’s just something some restaurateurs do - maybe to make the names sound fancy?
As meanings of both are completely different, using them interchangeably does not make much sense.
Grill is what many people do in their backyards or during outdoor trips for preparing meals.
Some call that “barbecue.” However, even those are technically not same either.
Grilling is cooking foods hot and fast.
Barbecuing is cooking foods low and slow. It is an ideal cooking method for ribs, beef brisket, pork shoulder, or whole turkeys or chickens.
(We won't get into whether you should use grill and barbecue interchangeably. Some people are passionate about them being the same or completely different.)
Restaurant names usually refer to some kind of specialties or cuisines. Because the restaurant industry is quite competitive, naming a business can often get difficult.
They want something catchy to get people’s attention and grille is something that has stuck as it has worked well for many.
Though restaurants keep using grille to establish an elevated sense of exoticness, there’s no reason to use both the words interchangeably.
Even the misuse of grille has gotten some kind of social acceptance.
I would say next time you go to a restaurant that has “grille” in its name, remember that it actually fires up the “grill” for that mouthwatering delicacy; however, not all restaurants that use grille in its name actually use a grill.