The Encarta English dictionary says a ‘grille’ is crisscrossed bars as in a lattice pattern of bars, especially in front of a window. Now this definition seems appropriate for the use of the word ‘Grille’ in a prison setting, but that is not what I’m going to talk about.
The second definition given by Encarta is the word as used to denote the metal grating that allows cooling air into the radiator of a vehicle’s engine. This definition is more appropriate when applied to today’s Behind Bars A-Z topic since it is more compatible with the prison usage. Inside the Big House, ‘Grille’ refers to a part of the human body and so in in this connotation, if you think of the mouth as the intake for the cooling air entering the lungs, and the lungs in comparison to a vehicle’s radiator, the word ‘grille’ as used Behind Bars (pardon the pun) refers to a specific part of the body.
Whenever someone behind bars is overheard saying something like “Man, why you all up in my grille?” or “She got a fanchee (cause his teeth are gone) grille!” or “Somebody done knocked out his grille!”, they are talking about teeth (or toofuses). Yep, your ‘grille’ is your teeth. This has also come into common use outside the prison setting, having made its way over the fences and walls and into the neighborhoods (or hoods, as the case may be, not to be confused with ‘hoods’ as in gangsters, AKA ‘gangstas’)! Whew!
And this part of the anatomy’s maintenance landed many offenders in the Food Service Department in trouble for stealing of or possession of Baking Soda to scrub their grilles (not to be confused with the cooks, who scrubbed their Grills without the “e” or the gold). Furthermore, these particular golden grilles were removable and were often often shared and/or borrowed on special occasions such as birthdays (birfdays) and such.
So it’s a given: A good grille is a golden grille that glimmers in the glare, so if your grille is glittery, the more your homeys stare -Prison Poetry (added bonus material).