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A device that takes chunks of meat in one end and squirts it finely chopped out of the other, like turning steak into hamburger. I kind of like the German word for it, fleischwolf, meat-wolf.

The meat is dropped into a funnel-shaped opening in the top of the device, and a set of metal teeth moving against one another chew the meat into bits, or a screw forces the meat into a set of rotating blades. The resulting ground meat is then forced through a plate with multiple small holes in it.

In older household versions, the mechanism was hand-cranked, but now self-powered versions are available. In addition, some food processors have a meat-grinding attachment.

In a large meat processing plant, there are huge industrial meat grinders. Rumor has it that they have often been used on occasion by criminal organizations to eliminate their foes in an especially gruesome manner.

Another use of the term is to describe a vicious life-or-death situation, such as in combat. In the movie Predator, the character played by Arnold Schwarzenneger complains to Carl Weather's character that he "dropped them into a meatgrinder" (although Ah-nuld's dudes seem to have performed all of the grinding in the scene.)

Someone prone to hyperbole may also use it to describe a particularly difficult day at work.

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