1690s, originally an art criticism term, "assemblage of figures or objects forming a harmonious whole in a painting or design," from French groupe "cluster, group" (17c.), from Italian gruppo "group, knot," which probably is, with Spanish grupo, from a Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *kruppaz "round mass, lump," part of the general group of Germanic kr- words with the sense :rounded mass" (such as crop (n.). Extended to "any assemblage, a number of individuals related in some way" by 1736. Meaning "pop music combo" is from 1958.
"form into a group or groups," 1718 (transitive), 1801 (intransitive), from group (n.). Related: Grouped; grouping.
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