How Well Do You Know English Slang?
mid-14c., "large;" early 15c., "coarse, plain, simple," from Old French gros "big, thick, fat, tall, pregnant; coarse, rude, awkward; ominous, important; arrogant" (11c.), from Late Latin grossus "thick, coarse (of food or mind)," 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 to "glaring, flagrant, monstrous" (1580s) on the one hand and "entire, total, whole" (early 15c.) on the other. Meaning "disgusting" is first recorded 1958 in U.S. student slang, from earlier use as an intensifier of unpleasant things (gross stupidity, etc.). Earlier "coarse in behavior or manners" (1530s) and, of things, "inferior, common" (late 15c.). Gross national product first recorded 1947.
"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) is from 1520s.
"to earn a total of," 1884, from gross (n.). Related: Grossed; grossing.
Gross (grōs), Samuel David. 1805-1884.
American surgeon and educator who wrote widely influential medical treatises, including A System of Surgery (1859).
Disgusting; rebarbative; grotty: at this moment (how gross!) blowing kisses into the phone (1958+ Teenagers)