gram (n.) Look up gram at
also gramme, metric unit of weight, 1797, from French gramme (18c.), from Late Latin gramma "small weight," from Greek gramma "small weight," a special use of the classical word meaning "a letter of the alphabet" (see -gram). Adopted into English about two years before it was established in France as a unit in the metric system by law of 19 frimaire, year VIII (1799). "There seems to be no possible objection to adopting the more convenient shorter form, except that the -me records the unimportant fact that the word came to us through French" [Fowler].
gramary (n.) Look up gramary at
early 14c., gramarye, "grammar," also "learning, erudition," hence "magic, enchantment" (late 15c.), a variant of grammar; perhaps from Old French gramare, gramaire "grammar," also "book of conjuring or magic" (hence Modern French grimaire "gibberish, incomprehensible nonsense"). Gramarye was revived by Scott ("Lay of the Last Minstrel," 1805) in the "dark magic" sense.
gramercy (interj.) Look up gramercy at
c. 1300, exclamation of thanks, later of surprise, from Old French grant-merci, gran merci "great thanks, many thanks," from gran (see grand (adj.)) + merci "reward, favor, thanks" (see mercy (n.)). Modern French merci "thank you" is a shortening of this.

New York City's Gramercy Park is named for the Gramercy Farm which once stood there; the first part of the name is an 18c. folk-etymology from Crommeshie Fly, the name of a former marsh or shallow pond that stood nearby, itself a mangling of New Netherlands Dutch Crommessie Vly, the first part of which represents either *Krom Moerasje "little crooked swamp" or *Krom Messje "little crooked knife," said to have been the name of a brook flowing into (or out of) the pond.
gramineous (adj.) Look up gramineous at
1650s, from Latin gramineus "of grass, grassy," from gramen (genitive graminis) "grass, fodder," from PIE *gras-men-, suffixed form of root *gras- "to devour" (see gastric). The Latin adjective also is the source of the botanical order of Gramineae.
graminivorous (adj.) Look up graminivorous at
"feeding on grass," 1739, from gramini-, comb. form of Latin gramen (genitive graminis) "grass, fodder" (see gramineous) + -vorous.
grammar (n.) Look up grammar at
late 14c., "Latin grammar, rules of Latin," from Old French gramaire "grammar; learning," especially Latin and philology, also "(magic) incantation, spells, mumbo-jumbo" (12c., Modern French grammaire), an "irregular semi-popular adoption" [OED] of Latin grammatica "grammar, philology," perhaps via an unrecorded Medieval Latin form *grammaria. The classical Latin word is from Greek grammatike (tekhne) "(art) of letters," referring both to philology and to literature in the broadest sense, fem. of grammatikos (adj.) "pertaining to or versed in letters or learning," from gramma "letter" (see -gram). An Old English gloss of it was stæfcræft (see staff (n.)).

A much broader word in Latin and Greek; restriction of the meaning to "systematic acount of the rules and usages of language" is a post-classical development. Until 16c. limited to Latin; in reference to English usage by late 16c., thence "rules of a language to which speakers and writers must conform" (1580s). Meaning "a treatise on grammar" is from 1520s. For the "magic" sense, compare gramary. The sense evolution is characteristic of the Dark Ages: "learning in general, knowledge peculiar to the learned classes," which included astrology and magic; hence the secondary meaning of "occult knowledge" (late 15c. in English), which evolved in Scottish into glamour (q.v.).

A grammar-school (late 14c.) originally was a school for learning Latin, which was begun by memorizing the grammar. In U.S. (1842) the term was put to use in the graded system for a school between primary and secondary where English grammar is one of the subjects taught. The word is attested earlier in surnames (late 12c.) such as Robertus Gramaticus, Richard le Gramarie, whence the modern surname Grammer.
grammarian (n.) Look up grammarian at
late 14c., "writer on (Latin) grammar; philologist, etymologist;" in general use, "learned man," from Old French gramairien "wise man, person who knows Latin; magician" (Modern French grammairien), agent noun from grammaire (see grammar).
grammatical (adj.) Look up grammatical at
1520s, "of or pertaining to grammar," from Middle French grammatical and directly from Late Latin grammaticalis "of a scholar," from grammaticus "pertaining to grammar" (see grammar). Related: Grammatically (c. 1400).
grammatist (n.) Look up grammatist at
1580s, "grammarian," from French grammatiste (16c.), from Medieval Latin grammatista, from Greek grammatistes "one who teaches letters," from gramma "a drawing; a letter, character" (see -gram).
grammatolatry (n.) Look up grammatolatry at
"concern for the letter (of Scripture) without regard for the spirit," 1847 (German Grammatolatrie is attested by 1842), from Latinized form of Greek grammatik-, comb. form of gramma "letter" (see -gram) + -latry "worship of." Probably formed with allusion to idolatry.
Grammy (n.) Look up Grammy at
statuette awarded by the American National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 1959, from the gram- in gramophone, on the model of Emmy.
gramophile (n.) Look up gramophile at
fan of gramophone records, 1922, from gramophone + -phile.
gramophone (n.) Look up gramophone at
"machine for recording and reproducing sounds by needle-tracing on some solid material," 1887, trademark by German-born U.S. inventor Emil Berliner (1851-1929), an inversion of phonogram (1884) "the tracing made by a phonograph needle," which was coined from Greek phone "voice, sound," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say" (see fame (n.)) + gramma "something written" (see -gram).

Berliner's machine used a flat disc and succeeded with the public. Edison's phonograph used a cylinder and did not. Despised by linguistic purists (Weekley calls gramophone "An atrocity formed by reversing phonogram") who tried at least to amend it to grammophone, it was replaced by record player after mid-1950s. There also was a graphophone (1886).
gramp Look up gramp at
1898, colloquial or dialectal shortening of grandpa.
grampus (n.) Look up grampus at
a word applied to killer whales and other large, dolphin-like creatures, 1590s, earlier graundepose (1520s), altered (by influence of grand) from Middle English graspeys (late 13c.), from Anglo-French grampais, from Old French graspois, craspois "whale, (salted) whale meat; blubber; seal," from Medieval Latin craspicis, literally "great fish" or "fat fish," from Latin crassus "thick" + piscis "fish" (see fish (n.)). For specifics of usage in English, see OED.
gran (1) Look up gran at
childish abbreviation of grandmother or granny, 1863.
gran (2) Look up gran at
Italian, the form of grand before nouns.
Granada Look up Granada at
Moorish kingdom, after 1492 a Spanish province, named for its city, which was founded in 8c. by the Arabs on the site of Roman Illiberis. The name is said to be from Latin granatum "pomegranate," either from fruit grown in the region or from some fancied resemblance. Others connect the name to Moorish karnattah, said to mean "hill of strangers." The Roman name is said to be Iberian and represent cognates of Basque hiri "town" + berri "new," and it survives in the name of the surrounding Sierra Elvira. Related: Granadine.
granary (n.) Look up granary at
1560s, from Latin granaria (plural) "granary, store-house for grain," from granum "grain," from PIE root *gre-no- "grain" (see corn (n.1)).
grand (adj.) Look up grand at
late 14c., grant "large, big" (early 12c. in surnames), from Anglo-French graunt and directly from Old French grant, grand (10c., Modern French grand) "large, tall; grown-up; great, powerful, important; strict, severe; extensive; numerous," from Latin grandis "big, great; full, abundant," also "full-grown;" figuratively "strong, powerful, weighty, severe," of unknown origin. In Vulgar Latin it supplanted magnus and continued in the Romanic languages. The connotations of "noble, sublime, lofty, dignified," etc., were in Latin. In English it developed a special sense of "imposing." Meaning "principal, chief, most important" (especially in titles) is from 1560s; that of "of very high or noble quality" is from 1712. As a general term of admiration, "magnificent, splendid," from 1816. Related: Grander; grandest.

Grand jury is late 15c. Grand piano from 1797. The grand tour of the principal sites of continental Europe, as part of a gentleman's education, is attested by that name from 1660s. The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in western U.S. was so called by 1869, popularized by Maj. John Wesley Powell, scientific adventurer, who explored it; earlier it had been known as Big Canyon. For grand slam see slam (n.2).
grand (n.) Look up grand at
"thousand dollars," 1915, American English underworld slang, from grand (adj.).
grand mal Look up grand mal at
"convulsive epilepsy" (with loss of consciousness), 1842 as a French term in English, from French grand mal, literally "great sickness" (see grand (adj.)). Opposed to petit mal.
Grand Marnier (n.) Look up Grand Marnier at
French cognac-based liqueur, 1901, from French grand "great" (see grand (adj.)) + Marnier-Lapostolle, name of the manufacturer.
Grand Old Party (n.) Look up Grand Old Party at
see GOP.
grand prix Look up grand prix at
1863, French, literally "great prize," originally in English in reference to the Grand Prix de Paris, international horse race for three-year-olds, run every June at Longchamps beginning in 1863.
grand- Look up grand- at
a special use of grand (adj.) in genealogical compounds, originally with the sense of "a generation older than," first attested c. 1200, in Anglo-French graund dame "grandmother," also grandsire (late 13c.), from such use of Old French grand-, which perhaps is modeled on Latin avunculus magnus "great uncle." The partly-anglicized grandmother, grandfather are from 15c. Other such words in European languages are formed with the adjectives for "old" or "best" (Danish bedstefar) or as diminutives or pet names (Greek pappos, Welsh taid). The French formation also is the model for such words in German and Dutch. Spanish abuelo is from Latin avus "grandfather" (from PIE *awo- "adult male relative other than the father;" see uncle), via Vulgar Latin *aviolus, a diminutive or adjective substitution for the noun.

The extension of the sense to corresponding relationships of descent, "a generation younger than" (grandson, granddaughter) is from Elizabethan times. The inherited PIE root, *nepot- "grandchild" (see nephew) has shifted to "nephew; niece" in English and other languages (Spanish nieto, nieta). Old English used suna sunu ("son's son"), dohtor sunu ("son's daughter").
grand-daughter (n.) Look up grand-daughter at
also granddaughter, 1610s, from grand- + daughter.
grandad (n.) Look up grandad at
also granddad, 1793, from grand- + dad. Grand dada attested from 1690s. Grandaddy is attested from 1751; figuratively (in grandaddy of all _____) from 1898.
grandame (n.) Look up grandame at
also grandam, c. 1200, "a grandmother; an old woman," from grand- + dame. Compare Anglo-French graund dame. Contracted form grannam attested from 1590s. Grand dame "great lady, lady of rank and dignity" (1744) is a modern borrowing from French.
grandchild (n.) Look up grandchild at
1580s, graundchilde, from grand- + child. Related: Grandchildren.
grandee (n.) Look up grandee at
1590s, from Spanish grande "nobleman of the first rank," originally an adjective, "great," from Latin grandis "big, great" (see grand (adj.)).
grandeur (n.) Look up grandeur at
c. 1500, "loftiness, height," from Middle French grandeur, from Old French grandor "size, height, extent, magnitude; greatness" (12c.), from grand "great" (see grand (adj.)). "Being a word of late adoption, it retains the Fr. form -eur of the suffix." Extended sense of "majesty, stateliness" in English is first recorded 1660s.
grandfather (n.) Look up grandfather at
early 15c., from grand- + father (n.), probably on analogy of French grand-père. Replaced grandsire and Old English ealdefæder. Grandfather clause originally (1899) referred to exemptions from post-Reconstruction voting restrictions (literacy, property tax) in the U.S. South for men whose forebears had had the right to vote before 1867 (thus allowing poor and illiterate whites to continue to vote). Grandfather clock is from 1894, originally grandfather's clock (1876), "a furniture dealer's name" [OED] from "My Grandfather's Clock," the 1876 song by Henry Clay Work that was enormously popular (and loathed) in late 1870s. It indicates that they were beginning to seem old-fashioned; they were previously known as tall case clocks or eight-day clocks.
grandfatherly (adj.) Look up grandfatherly at
1824, from grandfather + -ly (1).
grandiloquence (n.) Look up grandiloquence at
"lofty speaking or expression," 1580s, from Latin grandiloquentia, from grandiloquus "using lofty speech, bombastic," from grandis "big" (see grand (adj.)) + -loquus "speaking," from loqui "to speak" (see locution).
grandiloquent (adj.) Look up grandiloquent at
1590s, probably a back-formation from grandiloquence. Related: Grandiloquently.
grandiose (adj.) Look up grandiose at
1828 (earlier as a French word in English), from French grandiose "impressive, grand in effect" (18c.), from Italian grandioso (which also was borrowed directly into English as a musical term), from Latin grandis "big" (see grand (adj.)). Related: Grandiosely.
grandiosity (n.) Look up grandiosity at
1814, from French grandiosité; see grandiose + -ity.
The author now and then makes a word for his own use, as complicate, for complicated; and, still less fortunately 'grandiosity' (p. 343). [review of Joseph Forsyth's "Remarks on Italy," "Edinburgh Review," January 1814]
grandly (adv.) Look up grandly at
1650s, from grand (adj.) + -ly (2).
grandma (n.) Look up grandma at
1793, shortening of grandmama (1749), childish or familiar form of grandmother (see grand- + mama).
grandmaster (n.) Look up grandmaster at
as a chess title, 1927, from grand (adj.) in the sense "chief, principal" + master (n.). Earlier (as two words) a title in Freemasonry (1724) and in military orders of knighthood (1550s).
grandmother (n.) Look up grandmother at
early 15c., from grand- + mother (n.1), probably on analogy of French grand-mère. Replaced earlier grandame (c. 1200) and Old English ealdemodor.
grandmotherly (adj.) Look up grandmotherly at
1811, from grandmother + -ly (1).
grandness (n.) Look up grandness at
1722, from grand (adj.) + -ness.
grandpa (n.) Look up grandpa at
1814, shortening of grandpappa (1753), childish or familiar form of grandfather (see grand- + pa). Grandpappa is recorded from 1753, grandpop from 1860, grandpappy from 1853.
grandparent (n.) Look up grandparent at
1802, from grand- + parent (n.). Related: Grandparents; grandparental.
grandsire (n.) Look up grandsire at
"a grandfather," late 13c., from Anglo-French graunt sire; see grand- + sire (n.). From 19c. often in reference to animal lineages.
grandson (n.) Look up grandson at
1580s, from grand + son.
grandstand (n.) Look up grandstand at
"main seating for spectators at an outdoor event," 1761 (two words), from grand (adj.) + stand (n.). The verb meaning "to show off" is student slang from 1895, from grandstand player, attested in baseball slang from 1888.
It's little things of this sort which makes the 'grand stand player.' They make impossible catches, and when they get the ball they roll all over the field. [M.J. Kelly, "Play Ball," 1888]
Compare British gallery hit (1882) "showy play by a batsman in cricket, 'intended to gain applause from uncritical spectators'" [OED]. Related: grandstanding.
grange (n.) Look up grange at
mid-13c. in surnames and place names; c. 1300 as "group of farms, small village," also "a granary, barn" (early 14c.), "outlying buildings of a monastic or other estate" (late 14c.), "small farm" (mid-15c.), and compare granger; from Anglo-French graunge, Old French grange "barn, granary; farmstead, farm house" (12c.), from Medieval Latin or Vulgar Latin granica "barn or shed for keeping grain," from Latin granum "grain," from PIE root *gre-no- "grain" (see corn (n.1)). Sense evolved to "outlying farm" (late 14c.), then "country house," especially of a gentleman farmer (1550s). Meaning "local lodge of the Patrons of Husbandry" (a U.S. farmers' cooperative and agricultural interest promotion organization) is from 1867.