gow (n.) Look up gow at Dictionary.com
1915, "opium," from Cantonese yao-kao "opium," literally "drug-sap;" used as such by Raymond Chandler, etc.; by 1950s the meaning had expanded to "pictures of nude or scantily clad women," hence gow job "flashy girl," which in teenager slang came to also mean "hot rod."
gowk (n.) Look up gowk at Dictionary.com
"cuckoo," early 14c., from Old Norse gaukr, from Proto-Germanic *gaukoz (cognates: Old English geac "cuckoo," Old High German gouh). Meaning "fool" attested from c. 1600.
gown (n.) Look up gown at Dictionary.com
long, loose outer garment, c. 1300, from Old French goune "robe, coat; (nun's) habit, gown," related to Late Latin gunna "leather garment, skin, hide," of unknown origin. Used by St. Boniface (8c.) for a fur garment permitted for old or infirm monks. Klein writes that it is probably "a word adopted from a language of the Apennine or the Balkan Peninsula." OED points to Byzantine Greek gouna, a word for a coarse garment sometimes made of skins, but also notes "some scholars regard it as of Celtic origin."

In 18c., gown was the common word for what now usually is styled a dress. It was maintained more in the U.S. than in Britain, but was somewhat revived 20c. in fashion senses and in combinations (such as bridal gown, nightgown). Meaning "flowing robe worn on official occasions as a badge of office or authority" is from late 14c. As collective singular for "residents of a university" (1650s) it typically is used in rhyming opposition to town.
goy (n.) Look up goy at Dictionary.com
"a gentile, a non-Jew" (plural goyim), 1835, from Hebrew goy "people, nation;" in Mishnaic and Modern Hebrew, also "gentile" (compare gentile). The fem. form of the Hebrew word entered Middle French as gouge "a wench" (15c.).
goyim Look up goyim at Dictionary.com
plural of goy (q.v.).
grab (v.) Look up grab at Dictionary.com
"seize forcibly or roughly," 1580s, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German grabben "to grab," from Proto-Germanic *grab-, *grap- (cognates: Old English græppian "to seize," Old Saxon garva, Old High German garba "sheaf," literally "that which is gathered up together"), from PIE *ghrebh- (1) "to seize, reach" (cognates: Sanskrit grbhnati "seizes," Old Persian grab- "seize" as possession or prisoner, Old Church Slavonic grabiti "to seize, rob," Lithuanian grebiu "to rake"). Sense of "to get by unscrupulous methods" was reinforced by grab game, a kind of swindle, attested from 1846. Related: Grabbed; grabbing.
grab (n.) Look up grab at Dictionary.com
1777, "thing grabbed;" 1824, "act of grabbing, a sudden grasp or seizing" from grab (v.). Up for grabs attested from 1945 in jive talk.
grab-bag (n.) Look up grab-bag at Dictionary.com
"miscellaneous mixture," 1867, originally the name of a carnival game (1854) consisting of a bag full of items to be obtained by thrusting the hand within, the privilege of doing so having previously been bought; from grab + bag (n.).
grabble (v.) Look up grabble at Dictionary.com
1570s, probably from Dutch grabbelen, frequentative of grabben (see grab (v.)). Related: Grabbled; grabbling.
grabby (adj.) Look up grabby at Dictionary.com
"greedy, grasping," 1910, from grab + -y (2). Related: Grabbiness.
Grace Look up Grace at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, literally "favor, grace;" see grace (n.).
grace (n.) Look up grace at Dictionary.com
late 12c., "God's unmerited favor, love, or help," from Old French grace "pardon, divine grace, mercy; favor, thanks; elegance, virtue" (12c., Modern French grâce), from Latin gratia "favor, esteem, regard; pleasing quality, good will, gratitude" (source of Italian grazia, Spanish gracia; in Church use translating Greek kharisma), from gratus "pleasing, agreeable," from PIE *gwreto-, suffixed form of root *gwere- (3) "to favor" (cognates: Sanskrit grnati "sings, praises, announces," Lithuanian giriu "to praise, celebrate," Avestan gar- "to praise").

Sense of "virtue" is early 14c., that of "beauty of form or movement, pleasing quality" is mid-14c. In classical sense, "one of the three sister goddesses (Latin Gratiæ, Greek Kharites), bestowers of beauty and charm," it is first recorded in English 1579 in Spenser. In music, "an embellishment not essential to the melody or harmony," 1650s. As the name of the short prayer that is said before or after a meal (early 13c.; until 16c. usually graces) it has a sense of "gratitude." As a title of honor, c. 1500.
grace (v.) Look up grace at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, "to thank," from Old French graciier "thank, give thanks to; praise," from grace "mercy, favor, thanks, virtue" (see grace (n.)). Meaning "to show favor" (mid-15c.) led to that of "to lend or add grace to something" (1580s, as in grace us with your presence), which is the root of the musical sense in grace notes (1650s). Related: Graced; gracing.
graceful (adj.) Look up graceful at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "full of (divine) grace," also "pleasant, sweet," from grace (n.) + -ful. Meaning "with pleasing or attractive qualities" is from 1580s. Related: Gracefully; gracefulness.
graceless (adj.) Look up graceless at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "not in a state of grace," from grace (n.) + -less. Meaning "wanting charm or elegance" is from 1630s. Related: Gracelessly; gracelessness.
gracile (adj.) Look up gracile at Dictionary.com
"slender, thin," 1620s, from Latin gracilis "slender, thin, fine; plain, simple, meager" (source of French grêle), of unknown origin. Not etymologically connected to grace but often regarded as if it is. Perhaps a dissimilated form related to Latin cracens "slender;" if so, perhaps cognate with Sanskrit krsah "thin, weak," Avestan keresa- "lean, meager," Lithuanian karštu "to be very old, to age." Related: Gracility.
gracious (adj.) Look up gracious at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "filled with God's grace," from Old French gracios "courteous, pleasing, kind, friendly" (12c., Modern French gracieux), from Latin gratiosus "enjoying favor, agreeable, obliging; popular, acceptable," from gratia (see grace (n.)). Meaning "merciful, benevolent" is from late 14c. As an exclamation, elliptically for gracious God, attested from 1713.
graciously (adv.) Look up graciously at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "by God's grace," from gracious + -ly (2). Meaning "favorably, with good will" is late 14c.
graciousness (n.) Look up graciousness at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "attractiveness, agreeable quality," early 15c., from gracious + -ness. From 1630s as "courtesy, politeness."
grackle (n.) Look up grackle at Dictionary.com
1772, gracule, from genus name Gracula, Modern Latin use of fem. of Latin graculus "jackdaw, European crow," perhaps of imitative origin (compare crow (n.), crane (n.)). The anglicized form of the word is attested from 1782.
grad (n.) Look up grad at Dictionary.com
abbreviation of graduate (n.), attested from 1871.
gradate (v.) Look up gradate at Dictionary.com
"pass by imperceptible degrees," 1753, back-formation from gradation. Related: Gradated; gradating.
gradation (n.) Look up gradation at Dictionary.com
1530s, "a climax;" 1670s, "orderly arrangement or succession," from Middle French gradation (16c.) and directly from Latin gradationem (nominative gradatio) "ascent by steps; a climax," noun of action from gradus "step, degree" (see grade (n.)). Meaning "gradual change" is from 1540s.
gradational (adj.) Look up gradational at Dictionary.com
1785, from gradation + -al (1).
grade (n.) Look up grade at Dictionary.com
1510s, "degree of measurement," from French grade "grade, degree" (16c.), from Latin gradus "step, pace, gait, walk; step on a ladder or stair;" figuratively "a step, stage, degree," from gradi (past participle gressus) "to walk, step, go," from PIE *ghredh- "to walk, go" (cognates: Lithuanian gridiju "to go, wander," Old Church Slavonic gredo "to come," Old Irish in-greinn "he pursues," and second element in congress, progress, etc.). Replaced Middle English gree "step, degree in a series," from Old French grei "step," from Latin gradus.

Meaning "inclination of a road or railroad" is from 1811. Meaning "class of things having the same quality or value" is from 1807; meaning "division of a school curriculum equivalent to one year" is from 1835; that of "letter-mark indicating assessment of a student's work" is from 1886 (earlier used of numerical grades). Grade A "top quality, fit for human consumption" (originally of milk) is from a U.S. system instituted in 1912. To figuratively make the grade "be successful" is from 1912; early examples do not make clear whether the literal grade in mind was one of elevation, quality, or scholarship.
grade (v.) Look up grade at Dictionary.com
1650s, "to arrange in grades," from grade (n.). Meaning "to reduce (a road, etc.) to a level or degree of inclination" is from 1835. Meaning "assign a letter mark to" is from 1931. Related: Graded; grading.
grader (n.) Look up grader at Dictionary.com
1868, of machines; 1870, of persons, agent noun from grade (v.).
Gradgrind (n.) Look up Gradgrind at Dictionary.com
"cold, factual person," from the name of the mill-owner in Dickens' "Hard Times" (1854).
gradient (n.) Look up gradient at Dictionary.com
"steep slope of a road or railroad," 1835, principally in American English, probably from grade (n.) by analogy of quotient, etc. [OED]. It was used 17c. as an adjective, of animals, "characterized by walking;" in that case it is probably from Latin gradientem, present participle of gradi "to walk."
gradual (adj.) Look up gradual at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "having steps or ridges," from Medieval Latin gradualis, from Latin gradus "step" (see grade (n.)). Meaning "arranged by degrees" is from 1540s; that of "taking place by degrees" is from 1690s.
gradualism (n.) Look up gradualism at Dictionary.com
"a gradual method of action," 1832, in abolitionist literature, as a disparaging term (opposed to immediatism), from gradual + -ism. Related: Gradualist; gradualistic.
gradually (adv.) Look up gradually at Dictionary.com
1640s, from gradual + -ly (2).
graduand (n.) Look up graduand at Dictionary.com
in British universities, a student who has passed the necessary examinations but not yet graduated, 1882, from Medieval Latin graduandus, gerundive of graduari "to have a degree" (see graduate (n.)).
graduate (n.) Look up graduate at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "one who holds a degree" (originally with man; as a stand-alone noun from mid-15c.), from Medieval Latin graduatus, past participle of graduari "to take a degree," from Latin gradus "step, grade" (see grade (n.)). As an adjective, from late 15c.
graduate (v.) Look up graduate at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "to confer a university degree upon," from Medieval Latin graduatus (see graduate (n.)). Intransitive sense from 1807. Related: Graduated; graduating.
graduation (n.) Look up graduation at Dictionary.com
early 15c., in alchemy, "a tempering, a refining of something to a certain degree; measurement according to the four degrees of a quality," from graduate (n.). General sense of "a dividing into degrees" is from 1590s; meaning "action of receiving or giving an academic degree" is from early 15c.; in reference to the ceremony where a degree is given, from 1818.
Gradus ad Parnassum (n.) Look up Gradus ad Parnassum at Dictionary.com
Latin, literally "A Step to Parnassus," the mountain sacred to Apollo and the Muses. It was the title of a dictionary of prosody used in English public schools for centuries as a guide to Roman poetry. The book dates from the 1680s. Also the name of a treatise on musical composition written in Latin by Johann Joseph Fux, published in Vienna in 1725, and of a much-used book of exercises for piano.
Grady Look up Grady at Dictionary.com
surname and masc. proper name, from Irish Grada "noble."
Graeco- Look up Graeco- at Dictionary.com
also Greco-, modern word-forming element, from Latin Graecus "Greek" (see Greek (n.)) on model of Anglo-, Franco-, etc.
graffiti (n.) Look up graffiti at Dictionary.com
1851, "ancient wall inscriptions found in the ruins of Pompeii," from Italian graffiti, plural of graffito "a scribbling," a diminutive formation from graffio "a scratch or scribble," from graffiare "to scribble," ultimately from Greek graphein "to scratch, draw, write" (see -graphy). They are found in many ancient places, but the habit was especially popular among the Romans. Sense extended 1877 to recently made crude drawings and scribbling in public places.
graffito (n.) Look up graffito at Dictionary.com
singular of graffiti (q.v.).
graft (n.1) Look up graft at Dictionary.com
"shoot inserted into another plant," late 15c. alteration of Middle English graff (late 14c.), from Old French graife "grafting knife, carving tool; stylus, pen," from Latin graphium "stylus," from Greek grapheion "stylus," from graphein "to write" (see -graphy). So called probably on resemblance of a stylus to the pencil-shaped shoots used in grafting. The terminal -t- in the English word is not explained. Surgical sense is from 1871.
graft (n.2) Look up graft at Dictionary.com
"corruption," 1865, perhaps 1859, American English, perhaps from British slang graft "one's occupation" (1853), which is perhaps from the identical word meaning "a ditch, moat," literally "a digging" (1640s), from Middle Dutch graft, from graven "to dig" (see grave (v.)).
graft (v.) Look up graft at Dictionary.com
late 15c., "insert a shoot from one tree into another," from graft (n.1). Figurative use by 1530s. Surgical sense by 1868. Related: Grafted; grafting.
Graham Look up Graham at Dictionary.com
family name attested from early 12c., an Anglo-French form of the place name Grantham (Lincolnshire). In reference to crackers, bread, etc., made from unsifted whole-wheat flour, 1834, American English, from Sylvester Graham (1794-1851), U.S. dietetic reformer and temperance advocate. Related: Grahamism. Graham's law in physics (1845) is a reference to Scottish chemist Thomas Graham (1805-1869). Graham Land in Antarctica was named 1832 by English explorer John Biscoe in honor of Sir James Graham (1792-1861), first lord of the Admiralty; the U.S. name for it was Palmer Peninsula in honor of American explorer Nathaniel Palmer, who had led an expedition there in 1820. The rival names persisted until 1964.
grail (n.) Look up grail at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, gral, "the Holy Grail," from Old French graal, greal "Holy Grail; cup," earlier "large shallow dish, basin," from Medieval Latin gradalis, also gradale, grasale, "a flat dish or shallow vessel." The original form is uncertain; the word is perhaps ultimately from Latin crater "bowl," which is from Greek krater "bowl, especially for mixing wine with water" (see crater (n.)).

Holy Grail is anglicized from Middle English seint gral (c. 1300), also sangreal, sank-real (c. 1400), which seems to show deformation as if from sang real "royal blood" (that is, the blood of Christ) The object had been inserted into the Celtic Arthurian legends by 12c., perhaps in place of some pagan otherworldly object. It was said to be the cup into which Joseph of Arimathea received the last drops of blood of Christ (according to the writers who picked up the thread of Chrétien de Troyes' "Perceval") or the dish from which Christ ate the Last Supper (Robert de Boron), and ultimately was identified as both ("þe dische wiþ þe blode," "Joseph of Aramathie," c. 1350?).
grain (n.) Look up grain at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "a small, hard seed," especially of one of the cereal plants, also as a collective singular, "seed of wheat and allied grasses used as food;" also "something resembling grain; a hard particle of other substances" (salt, sand, later gunpowder, etc.), from Old French grain, grein (12c.) "seed, grain; particle, drop; berry; grain as a unit of weight," from Latin granum "seed, a grain, small kernel," from PIE root *gre-no- "grain" (see corn (n.1)). From late 14c. as "a species of cereal plant." In the U.S., where corn has a specialized sense, it is the general word (used of wheat, rye, oats, barley, etc.).

Figuratively, "the smallest possible quantity," from late 14c. From early 15c. in English as the smallest unit of weight (originally the weight of a plump, dry grain of wheat or barley from the middle of the ear). From late 14c as "roughness of surface; a roughness as of grains." In reference to wood, "quality due to the character or arrangement of its fibers," 1560s; hence, against the grain (1650), a metaphor from carpentry: cutting across the fibers of the wood is more difficult than cutting along them.

Earliest sense of the word in English was "scarlet dye made from insects" (early 13c.), a sense also in the Old French collateral form graine; see kermes for the evolution of this sense, which was frequent in Middle English; also compare engrain. In Middle English grain also could mean "seed of flowers; pip of an apple, grape, etc.; a berry, legume, nut." Grain alcohol attested by 1854.
grained Look up grained at Dictionary.com
in compounds, "having grains" (of a specified kind), 1520s; see grain (n.).
grainy (adj.) Look up grainy at Dictionary.com
1610s, "full of grains," from grain + -y (2). Photographic sense is from 1900. In Middle English, grain also was used as an adjective, "like grain, lumpy, spotted" (early 15c.). Related: Graininess.
grallatorial (adj.) Look up grallatorial at Dictionary.com
"of or pertaining to wading birds," 1825, from Latin grallotores "stilt-walkers," plural of grallator "one who walks on stilts," from grallae "stilts," ultimately from stem of gradi "to walk, go" (see grade (n.)). Grallatores was formerly used as the name of an order of birds comprising herons, cranes, etc. Related: Grallatory (1835).