gripping (adj.) Look up gripping at
"grasping the emotions," 1896, figurative use of present participle adjective from grip (v.).
grisaille (n.) Look up grisaille at
painting technique using gray tints, 1848, from French grisaille (17c.), from gris "gray" (12c.), which is from Frankish *gris or some other Germanic source (cognates: Dutch grijs, Old High German gris; see gray (adj.)).
Griselda Look up Griselda at
fem. proper name, from Italian, from German Grishilda, from Old High German grisja hilda, literally "gray battle-maid" (see gray (adj.) + Hilda). The English form, Grisilde, provided Chaucer's Grizel, the name of the meek, patient wife in the Clerk's Tale, the story and the name both from Boccaccio.
grisette (n.) Look up grisette at
c. 1700, "gray woolen fabric," from French grisette, diminutive of gris "grey," which is from Frankish or some other Germanic source (see grey (adj.)). From 1723 as "young French working girl," especially a shopgirl or seamstress, on the notion of wearing clothing made from such fabric; "commonly applied by foreigners in Paris to the young women of this class who are free in their manners on the streets and in the shops" [Century Dictionary].
grisly (adj.) Look up grisly at
Old English grislic (in compounds) "horrible, dreadful," from root of grisan "to shudder, fear," a general Germanic word (cognates: Old Frisian grislik "horrible," Middle Dutch grisen "to shudder," Dutch griezelen, German grausen "to shudder, fear," Old High German grisenlik "horrible;" of unknown origin; Watkins connects it with the PIE root *ghrei- "to rub," on notion of "to grate on the mind" (see chrism). See also gruesome, to which it probably is connected in some way. Related: Grisliness.
grist (n.) Look up grist at
Old English grist "action of grinding; grain to be ground," perhaps related to grindan "to grind" (see grind (v.)), though OED calls this connection "difficult." Meaning "wheat which is to be ground" is early 15c., as is the figurative extension from this sense.
grist-mill (n.) Look up grist-mill at
also gristmill, c. 1600, from grist (n.) in the sense "amount ground at one time," hence "grain carried to the mill by the owner for grinding at one time," + mill (n.).
gristle (n.) Look up gristle at
Old English gristle "cartilage," related to grost "gristle," from a common West Germanic word (cognates: Old Frisian and Middle Low German gristel, Old High German crostila, Middle High German gruschel) of obscure origin.
grit (n.) Look up grit at
Old English greot "sand, dust, earth, gravel," from Proto-Germanic *greutan "tiny particles of crushed rock" (cognates: Old Saxon griot, Old Frisian gret, Old Norse grjot "rock, stone," German Grieß "grit, sand"), from PIE *ghreu- "rub, grind" (cognates: Lithuanian grudas "corn, kernel," Old Church Slavonic gruda "clod"). Sense of "pluck, spirit, firmness of mind" first recorded American English, 1808.
If he hadn't a had the clear grit in him, and showed teeth and claws, they'd a nullified him so, you wouldn't have see'd a grease spot of him no more. [Thomas Chandler Haliburton, "Sam Slick in England," 1843]
grit (v.) Look up grit at
"make a grating sound," 1762, probably from grit (n.). Meaning "to grate, grind" is from 1797. Related: Gritted; gritting.
grits (n.) Look up grits at
plural of grit "coarsely ground grain," Old English grytt (plural grytta) "coarse meal, groats, grits," from Proto-Germanic *grutja-, from the same root as grit (n.), the two words having influenced one another in sound development.

In American English, corn-based grits and hominy (q.v.) were used interchangeably in Colonial times. Later, hominy meant whole kernels that had been skinned but not ground, but in the U.S. South, hominy meant skinned kernels that could be ground coarsely to make grits. In New Orleans, whole kernels are big hominy and ground kernels little hominy.
gritty (adj.) Look up gritty at
1590s, "resembling or containing sand or grit," from grit (n.) + -y (2). In sense of "unpleasant" (of literature, etc.), from 1882, in reference to the sensation of eating gritty bread. Meaning "plucky, spirited, courageous and resolute" is from 1847. Related: Grittily; grittiness.
grizzle (adj.) Look up grizzle at
"gray-colored," mid-14c., from Old French grisel "gray" (see grizzled) which also meant "gray-haired old man; gray horse" (senses recorded in Middle English from mid-14c.). The verb, "to make gray," is attested from 1740.
grizzled (adj.) Look up grizzled at
"gray in color," late 14c., griseld, a past participle adjective formation from the noun grizzle "gray-haired old man" (early 14c. as a surname, Grissel); see grizzle (adj.). Or else from Old French grisel "gray," diminutive of gris "gray," from a Frankish or other Germanic source (such as Old High German gris "gray;" see gray (adj.). The -zz- spelling is early 15c. As a verb, grizzle "to grow gray; to make gray" is not attested before 18c.
grizzly (adj.) Look up grizzly at
"somewhat gray," 1590s, from grizzle "gray-colored" + -y (1). Also see grizzled. Grizzly bear (ursus horribilis) for the large ferocious bear of the western U.S., is recorded by 1806; sometimes said to belong rather to grisly (q.v.), but either adjective suits it.
groan (v.) Look up groan at
Old English granian "to utter a deep, low-toned breath expressive of grief or pain; to murmur; to lament," from Proto-Germanic *grain- (cognates: Old Norse grenja "to howl"), of imitative origin, or related to grin (v.). Meaning "complain" is from early 13c., especially in Middle English phrase grutchen and gronen. As an expression of disapproval, by 1799. Related: Groaned; groaning.
groan (n.) Look up groan at
late 14c., from groan (v); earlier grane (early 14c.).
groaner (n.) Look up groaner at
"one who complains," early 15c., agent noun from groan (v).
groaning (n.) Look up groaning at
Old English granung "groaning, lamentation," verbal noun from groan (v.). From 16c. to 19c., and in dialect, also "a woman's lying-in."
groat (n.) Look up groat at
medieval European coin, late 14c., probably from Middle Dutch groot, elliptical use of the adjective meaning "great, big" (in this case, "thick"), from the name of some large coin (for example the Bremen grote sware, and compare Medieval Latin grossi denarii in reference to a Prague coin) to distinguish it from smaller coins of the same name. Cognate with English great (adj.). Recognized from 13c. in various nations. The original English groat coined of 1351-2 was worth four pence; it was discontinued in 1622. Also see groschen.
groats (n.) Look up groats at
"hulled grain coarsely ground or crushed; oatmeal," early 14c., from grot "piece, fragment," from Old English grot "particle," from same root as grit (n.). The word also meant "excrement in pellets" (mid-15c.).
grocer (n.) Look up grocer at
early 15c. (mid-13c. as a surname), "wholesale dealer, one who buys and sells in gross," corrupted spelling of Anglo-French grosser, Old French grossier, from Medieval Latin grossarius "wholesaler," literally "dealer in quantity" (source also of Spanish grosero, Italian grosseiro), from Late Latin grossus "coarse (of food), great, gross" (see gross (adj.)). Sense of "a merchant selling individual items of food" is 16c.; in Middle English this was a spicer.
groceries (n.) Look up groceries at
plural of grocery (q.v.).
grocery (n.) Look up grocery at
mid-15c., "goods sold by a grocer;" earlier the name of the Grocer's Hall in London (early 15c.), from Old French grosserie, from grossier "wholesale merchant" (see grocer). Meaning "a grocer's shop" is by 1803, especially in American English, where its use in that sense restricted the "goods sold by a grocer" meaning to the plural, groceries, by mid-19c.
GROCERY. A grocer's shop. This word is not in the English dictionaries except in the sense of grocer's ware, such as tea, sugar, spice, etc.; in which sense we also use it in the plural. [Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1859]
Self-service groceries were a novelty in 1913 when a Montana, U.S., firm copyrighted the word groceteria (with the ending from cafeteria used in an un-etymological sense) to name them. The term existed through the 1920s.
grody (adj.) Look up grody at
variant of grotty.
grog (n.) Look up grog at
1749, "alcoholic drink diluted with water," supposedly a reference to Old Grog, nickname of Edward Vernon (1684-1757), British admiral who wore a grogram (q.v.) cloak and who in August 1740 ordered his sailors' rum to be diluted. George Washington's older half-brother Lawrence served under Vernon in the Caribbean and renamed the family's Hunting Creek Plantation in Virginia for him in 1740, calling it Mount Vernon. Eventually the word came popularly to mean "strong drink" of any kind. Grog shop "tavern where alcohol is sold by the glass" is from 1790.
groggy (adj.) Look up groggy at
1770, "drunk, overcome with grog so as to stagger or stumble," from grog + -y (2). Non-alcoholic meaning "shaky, tottering" is from 1832, originally from the fight ring. Also used of hobbled horses (1828). Related: Groggily; grogginess.
grogram (n.) Look up grogram at
coarse, stiff textile fabric, 1560s, from Middle French gros grain "coarse grain or texture;" see gross (adj.) + grain (n.).
groin (n.) Look up groin at
"oblique depression of the body between the abdomen and thighs," 1590s, earlier grine (1530s), from Middle English grynde "groin" (c. 1400), originally "depression in the ground," from Old English grynde "abyss," perhaps also "depression, hollow," from Proto-Germanic *grundus (see ground (n.)). Altered 16c. by influence of loin or obsolete groin "snout of a pig." The architectural groin "curving edge formed by the intersection of two vaults" is from 1725.
grok (v.) Look up grok at
"to understand empathically," 1961, arbitrary formation by U.S. science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) in his book "Stranger in a Strange Land." In popular use 1960s; perhaps obsolete now except in internet technology circles.
grommet (n.) Look up grommet at
also gromet, grummet, 1620s, "ring or wreath of rope," from obsolete French gromette "curb of a bridle" (Modern French gourmette), from gourmer "to curb," of uncertain origin. Extended sense of "metal eyelet" first recorded 1769.
groom (n.1) Look up groom at
c. 1200 (late 12c. in surnames), grome "male child, boy;" c. 1300, "a youth, young man," also "male servant, attendant, minor officer in a royal or noble household ranking higher than a page; a knight's squire." Of unknown origin; no certain cognates in other Germanic languages. Perhaps from an unrecorded Old English *grom, *groma, which could be related to growan "to grow," and influenced by guma "man." Or perhaps from or influenced by Old French grommet "boy, young man in service, serving-man" (compare Middle English gromet "ship's boy," early 13c.). As the title of an officer of the English royal house from mid-15c. Specific meaning "male servant who attends to horses and stables" is from 1660s, from earlier combinations such as horse-groom, Groom of the Stables, etc.
groom (n.2) Look up groom at
"husband-to-be at a wedding; newly married man," c. 1600 (usually as a correlative of bride), short for bridegroom (q.v.), in which the second element is Old English guma "man."
groom (v.) Look up groom at
"tend or care for; curry and feed," 1809, from groom (n.1) in its secondary sense of "male servant who attends to horses." Transferred sense of "to tidy (oneself) up" is from 1843; figurative sense of "to prepare a candidate" is from 1887, originally in U.S. politics. Related: Groomed; grooming.
groomsman (n.) Look up groomsman at
attendant on a bridegroom at a wedding, 1690s, from possessive of groom (n.2) + man (n.).
groove (n.) Look up groove at
c. 1400, "cave; mine; pit dug in the earth" (late 13c. in place names), from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse grod "pit," or from Middle Dutch groeve "furrow, ditch" (Modern Dutch groef), both from Proto-Germanic *grobo (cognates: Old Norse grof "brook, river bed," Old High German gruoba "ditch," German Grube "a pit, hole, ditch, grave," Gothic groba "pit, cave," Old English græf "ditch, grave"), from PIE root *ghrebh- (2) "to dig, bury, scratch" (see grave (n.)). Sense of "long, narrow channel or furrow," especially as cut by a tool, is 1650s. Meaning "spiral cut in a phonograph record" is from 1902. Figurative sense of "routine" is from 1842, often deprecatory at first, "a rut."
groove (v.) Look up groove at
1680s, "make a groove, cut a channel in," from groove (n.). Slang sense is from 1930s (see groovy). Related: Grooved; grooving.
groovy (adj.) Look up groovy at
1850, "pertaining to a groove," from groove (n.) + -y (2). Slang sense of "first-rate, excellent" is 1937, American English, from jazz slang phrase in the groove (1932) "performing well (without grandstanding)." As teen slang for "wonderful," it dates from c. 1941; popularized 1960s, out of currency by 1980. Earlier colloquial figurative sense was "having a tendency to routine, inclined to a specialized and narrow way of life or thought" (1882). Related: Grooviness.
grope (v.) Look up grope at
late Old English grapian "to feel about (as one blind or in darkness)," also "take hold of, seize, touch, attain," related to gripan "grasp at" (see gripe (v.)). Transitive sense "search out by sense of touch alone" was in late Old English. Figurative sense is from early 14c. Indecent sense "touch (someone) amorously, play with, fondle" (marked as "obsolete" in OED 2nd edition) is from c. 1200. Related: Groped; groping.
grope (n.) Look up grope at
c. 1500, "act of groping," from grope (v.). Old English had grap "a grasp."
grosbeak (n.) Look up grosbeak at
general name for a bird with a large bill, 1670s, partial translation of French grosbec; see gross (adj.) + beak.
groschen (n.) Look up groschen at
1610s, small silver coin formerly used in Germany and Austria, from German groschen, altered from Czech groš, name of a coin (about one-thirtieth of a thaler), from Medieval Latin (denarius) grossus, literally "a thick coin," from Latin grossus "thick" (see gross (adj.), and compare groat).
gross (adj.) Look up gross at
mid-14c., "large;" early 15c., "thick," also "coarse, plain, simple," from Old French gros "big, thick, fat; tall; strong, powerful; pregnant; coarse, rude, awkward; ominous, important; arrogant" (11c.), from Late Latin grossus "thick, coarse" (of food or mind), in Medieval Latin "great, big" (source also of Spanish grueso, Italian grosso), a word of obscure origin, not in classical Latin. Said to be unrelated to Latin crassus, which meant the same thing, or to German gross "large," but said by Klein to be cognate with Old Irish bres, Middle Irish bras "big."

Its meaning forked in English. Via the notion of "coarse in texture or quality" came the senses "not sensitive, dull stupid" (1520s), "vulgar, coarse in a moral sense" (1530s). Via notion of "general, not in detail" came the sense "entire, total, whole, without deductions" (early 15c.), as in gross national product (1947). Meaning "glaring, flagrant, monstrous" is from 1580s; modern meaning "disgusting" is first recorded 1958 in U.S. student slang, from earlier use as an intensifier of unpleasant things (gross stupidity, etc.).
gross (n.) Look up gross at
"a dozen dozen," early 15c., from Old French grosse douzaine "large dozen;" see gross (adj.). Earlier as the name of a measure of weight equal to one-eighth of a dram (early 15c.). Sense of "total profit" (opposed to net (adj.)) is from 1520s.
gross (v.) Look up gross at
"to earn a total of," 1884, from gross (adj.) in the "whole, total" sense. Slang meaning "make (someone) disgusted" (usually with out) is from 1971. Related: Grossed; grossing.
grossly (adv.) Look up grossly at
1520s, "plainly, obviously," from gross (adj.) + -ly (2). Meaning "coarsely, shamefully" is from 1540s; that of "excessively" is from 1610s.
grossness (n.) Look up grossness at
early 15c., "size," from gross (adj.) + -ness. Meaning "state of being indelicate, rude, or vulgar" is from 1680s.
grot (n.) Look up grot at
short for grotto, c. 1500; perhaps from or influenced by French grotte.
grotesque (adj.) Look up grotesque at
"wildly formed, of irregular proportions, boldly odd," c. 1600s, originally a noun (1560s), from Middle French crotesque (16c., Modern French grotesque), from Italian grottesco, literally "of a cave," from grotta (see grotto). The explanation that the word first was used of paintings found on the walls of Roman ruins revealed by excavation (Italian pittura grottesca) is "intrinsically plausible," according to OED. Originally merely fanciful and fantastic, the sense became pejorative, "clownishly absurd, uncouth," after mid-18c. As the British name for a style of square-cut, sans-serif letter, from 1875. Related: Grotesquely; grotesqueness.
grotto (n.) Look up grotto at
"picturesque cavern or cave," 1610s, from Italian grotta, earlier cropta, a corruption of Latin crypta "vault, cavern," from Greek krypte "hidden place" (see crypt). Terminal -o may be from its being spelled that way in many translations of Dante's "Divine Comedy."