Etymology
Advertisement

Words related to grass

grow (v.)

Old English growan (of plants) "to flourish, increase, develop, get bigger" (class VII strong verb; past tense greow, past participle growen), from Proto-Germanic *gro- (source also of Old Norse groa "to grow" (of vegetation), Old Frisian groia, Dutch groeien, Old High German gruoen), from PIE root *ghre- "to grow, become green" (see grass). Applied in Middle English to human beings (c. 1300) and animals (early 15c.) and their parts, supplanting Old English weaxan (see wax (v.)) in the general sense of "to increase." Transitive sense "cause to grow" is from 1774. To grow on "gain in the estimation of" is from 1712.

Have you ever heard anything about God, Topsy? ... Do you know who made you?" "Nobody, as I knows on," said the child. ... "I spect I grow'd. Don't think nobody never made me." [Harriet B. Stowe, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," 1851]
Advertisement
green (adj.)

Old English grene, Northumbrian groene "green, of the color of living plants," in reference to plants, "growing, living, vigorous," also figurative, of a plant, "freshly cut," of wood, "unseasoned" earlier groeni, from Proto-Germanic *grōni- (source also of Old Saxon grani, Old Frisian grene, Old Norse grænn, Danish grøn, Dutch groen, Old High German gruoni, German grün), from PIE root *ghre- "grow" (see grass), through sense of "color of growing plants."

From c. 1200 as "covered with grass or foliage." From early 14c. of fruit or vegetables, "unripe, immature;" and of persons, "of tender age, youthful, immature, inexperienced;" hence "gullible, immature with regard to judgment" (c. 1600). From mid-13c. in reference to the skin or complexion of one sick.

Green cheese originally was that which is new or fresh (late 14c.), later with reference to coloring; for the story told to children that the moon is made of it, see cheese (n.1). Green light in figurative sense of "permission" is from 1937 (green and red as signals on railways first attested 1883, as nighttime substitutes for semaphore flags). Green thumb for "natural for gardening" is by 1938. Green beret originally "British commando" is from 1949. Greenroom (also green room) "room for actors when not on stage" is from 1701; presumably a once-well-known one was painted green. The color of environmentalism since 1971.

bluegrass (n.)
also blue-grass, music style, 1958, in reference to the Blue Grass Boys, country music band 1940s-'50s, from the "blue" grass (Poa pratensis) characteristic of Kentucky. The grass so called from 1751; Kentucky has been the Bluegrass State at least since 1872; see blue (adj.1) + grass.
crabgrass (n.)

also crab-grass, 1590s, from crab (n.1) + grass. Originally a marine grass of salt marshes (Salicornia herbacea) perhaps so called because it was supposed to be eaten by crabs; modern use, in reference to Panicum sanguinale, an annual grass cultivated on waste land (but a noxious weed in lawns and cultivated fields), is from 1743, perhaps partly in reference to its crooked form.

cress (n.)

common name for a plant of the mustard family, Old English cresse, originally cærse, from Proto-Germanic *krasjon- (source also of Middle Low German kerse, karse; Middle Dutch kersse; Old High German kresso, German Kresse), from PIE root *gras- "to devour" (see gastric). It underwent a metathesis similar to that of grass. French cresson, Italian crescione are Germanic loan-words.

grass roots (n.)
1650s, from grass + root (n.). The image of grass roots as the most fundamental level of anything is from 1901; U.S. political sense of "the rank and file of the electorate" (also grassroots) is attested from 1912; as an adjective by 1918.
grasshopper (n.)
popular name of insects with hind legs suited to jumping, mid-14c. (late 13c. as a surname), earlier greshoppe (c. 1200), from Old English gærshoppa; see grass + hopper (n.1). Similar formation in Middle Swedish gräshoppare, German Grashüpfer. As a term of reproach, from Ecclesiastes xii.5. Also recorded c. 1300 as a name for the hare.
grassland (n.)
also grass-land, "land perpetually under grass," 1680s, from grass + land (n.).
grassy (adj.)
"abounding in grass, covered in grass," mid-15c., from grass + -y (2).
graze (v.1)
"to feed on grass," Old English grasian, from græs "grass" (see grass). Compare Middle Dutch, Middle High German grasen, Dutch grazen, German grasen. Transitive sense from 1560s. Figurative use by 1570s. Related: Grazed; grazing.