1510s, from Late Latin gerundium (also gerundivus modus), from Latin gerundum "to be carried out," gerundive of gerere "to bear, carry" (see gest). In Latin, a verbal noun used for all cases of the infinitive but the nominative; applied in English to verbal nouns in -ing. "So called because according to the old grammarians, the gerund prop[erly] expressed the doing or the necessity of doing something" [Century Dictionary]. Gerund-grinder "instructor in Latin grammar," also "pedant," is from 1710.
updated on February 28, 2015