Entries linking to grey
"of a color between white and black; having little or no color or luminosity," Old English græg "gray" (Mercian grei), from Proto-Germanic *grewa- "gray" (source also of Old Norse grar, Old Frisian gre, Middle Dutch gra, Dutch graw, Old High German grao, German grau), with no certain connections outside Germanic. French gris, Spanish gris, Italian grigio, Medieval Latin griseus are Germanic loan-words. The spelling distinction between British grey and U.S. gray developed 20c. Expression the gray mare is the better horse in reference to households ruled by wives is recorded from 1540s.
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].
updated on September 02, 2004