Word Origin & History
c.1347, from O.Fr. gros "big, thick, coarse," from L.L. grossus "thick, coarse (of food or mind)," of obscure origin, not in classical L. Said to be unrelated to L. crassus, which meant the same thing, or to Ger. gross "large," but said to be cognate with O.Ir. bres, M.Ir. bras "big." Its meaning forked
in M.E., to "glaring, flagrant, monstrous" on the one hand and "entire, total, whole" 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.). Noun sense of "a dozen dozen" is from O.Fr. grosse douzaine "large dozen;" sense of "total profit" (opposed to net) is from 1523. Gross national product first recorded 1947.