grotty (n.) Look up grotty at
slang shortening of grotesque, it had a brief vogue 1964 as part of the argot popularized by The Beatles in "A Hard Day's Night." It unconsciously echoes Middle English groti "muddy, slimy," from Old English grotig "earthy," from grot "particle."
grouch (n.) Look up grouch at
"ill-tempered person," 1896, earlier "state of irritable glumness" (1890, in expressions such as to have a grouch on), U.S. college student slang, of uncertain origin, possibly from grutching "complaint, grumbling" (see grutch).
The Grouch, on the other Hand, gave a correct Imitation of a Bear with a Sore Toe. His Conversation was largely made up of Grunts. He carried a Facial Expression that frightened little Children in Street Cars and took all the Starch out of sentimental Young Ladies. He seemed perpetually to carry the Hoof-Marks of a horrible Nightmare. [George Ade, "People You Know," 1902]
The verb is 1916, from the noun. Related: Grouched; grouching. Grouch bag "purse for carrying money secretly" (1908), probably so called for keeping the cash hidden from compatriots; it is the source of the nickname of U.S. comedian Julius "Groucho" Marx (1890-1977), who supposedly carried his money to poker games in one.
grouchy (adj.) Look up grouchy at
1895, U.S. college student slang, from grouch (n.) + -y (2). Related: Grouchily; grouchiness.
ground (v.) Look up ground at
mid-13c., "to put on the ground, to strike down to the ground;" late 14c., "lay the foundation of," also, figuratively, "to base" (an argument, sermon, etc.), from ground (n.). Meaning "instruct thoroughly in the basics" is from late 14c. Of ships, "to run into the ground," from mid-15c. (intransitive), transitive sense from 1650s. Of arms, from 1711. Electrical sense from 1881. Meaning "deny privileges" is 1940s, originally a punishment meted out to pilots (in which sense it is attested from 1930). In the sense "establish firmly" Old English had grundweallian, grundstaðelian; also gryndan "descend," gegryndan "to found."
ground (n.) Look up ground at
Old English grund "bottom; foundation; surface of the earth," also "abyss, Hell," and "bottom of the sea" (a sense preserved in run aground), from Proto-Germanic *grundus, which seems to have meant "deep place" (cognates: Old Frisian, Old Saxon, Danish, Swedish grund, Dutch grond, Old High German grunt, German Grund "ground, soil, bottom;" Old Norse grunn "a shallow place," grund "field, plain," grunnr "bottom"). No known cognates outside Germanic.

Sense of "reason, motive" first attested c. 1200. Meaning "source, origin, cause" is from c. 1400. Electrical sense "connection with the earth" is from 1870 (in telegraphy). Meaning "place where one takes position" is from 1610s; hence stand (one's) ground (1707). To run to ground in fox-hunting is from 1779. Ground rule (1890) originally was a rule designed for a specific playing field (ground or grounds in this sense attested by 1718); by 1953 it had come to mean "a basic rule."
ground (adj.) Look up ground at
"reduced to fine particles by grinding," 1765, past participle adjective from grind (v.).
ground floor (n.) Look up ground floor at
also ground-floor, c. 1600, from ground (n.) + floor (n.); figurative use is from 1864.
ground zero (n.) Look up ground zero at
1946, originally with reference to atomic blasts. In reference to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on New York, it was in use by Sept. 13.
ground-breaking (adj.) Look up ground-breaking at
also groundbreaking, 1907 as a figurative adjective, from expression to break ground (1650s), either for planting or for building, which was in figurative use by 1884; see ground (n.) + break (v.).
ground-hog (n.) Look up ground-hog at
also groundhog, "American marmot," 1784, from ground (n.) + hog (n.). Also known colloquially as a whistlepig, woodchuck, and compare aardvark. Ground Hog Day as a weather forecasting event is first recorded 1869, in an Ohio newspaper article that calls it "old tradition;" the custom though not the name, attested from 1850s.
ground-swell (n.) Look up ground-swell at
also groundswell, "broad, deep swell of the sea," 1783, from ground (n.) + swell (n.). Figurative sense (of sound, emotion, etc.) is attested from 1817.
grounded (adj.) Look up grounded at
late 14c., "learned, instructed thoroughly in the basics;" 1540s as "firmly fixed or established," past participle adjective from ground (v.). Electrical sense is from 1889. Meaning "having been denied privileges" is from 1940s. Dickens had room-ridden "confined to one's room."
grounder (n.) Look up grounder at
c. 1400, "one who establishes," agent noun from ground (v.). Baseball sense attested by 1867; earlier in cricket.
grounding (n.) Look up grounding at
late 14c., "action of establishing," verbal noun from ground (v.). Meaning "instruction in fundamentals" is from 1640s. Sense of "background of a design" is from 1882.
grounding (n. Look up grounding at
groundless (adj.) Look up groundless at
Old English grundleas "bottomless, unfathomable, vast;" see ground (n.) + -less. Figurative sense of "having no adequate cause or reason" is from 1620s. Similar formation in Dutch grondeloos, German grundlos, Old Norse grunnlauss. Related: Groundlessly; groundlessness.
groundling (n.) Look up groundling at
"theater patron in the pit" (which originally had no floor or benches), c. 1600, from ground (n.) in an Elizabethan sense of "pit of a theater" + -ling. From the beginning emblematic of bad or unsophisticated taste. Old English grundling was a type of fish.
grounds (n.) Look up grounds at
"residue at the bottom of a liquid," mid-14c., perhaps from past tense of grind (v.). Other senses, such as "enclosed portion of land" (mid-15c.) are from ground (n.).
groundwater (n.) Look up groundwater at
also ground-water, "water in the ground," 1890, from ground (n.) + water (n.1). Attested from mid-15c. in sense "water at the bottom of a stream."
groundwork (n.) Look up groundwork at
mid-15c., "foundation of a building or wall, solid base on which a structure is built," from ground (n.) + work (n.) in the older sense. Similar formation in Middle Dutch grontwerck, Dutch grondwerk, German grundwerk. Of immaterial things from 1550s.
group (n.) Look up group at
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.
group (v.) Look up group at
"form into a group or groups," 1718 (transitive), 1801 (intransitive), from group (n.). Related: Grouped; grouping.
grouper (n.) Look up grouper at
type of fish, 1690s, from Portuguese garupa, of unknown origin, probably from a South American Indian language, perhaps Tupi.
groupie (n.) Look up groupie at
"girl who follows pop groups," 1967, from group (n.) in the pop music sense + -ie. In World War II R.A.F. slang it was short for group captain.
grouping (n.) Look up grouping at
"act, process, or result of arranging in a group," 1748, verbal noun from group (v.).
groupthink (n.) Look up groupthink at
1959, from group (n.) + think.
grouse (n.) Look up grouse at
type of game bird, 1530s, grows (plural, used collectively), of unknown origin, possibly from Latin or Welsh. Originally the moorhen of the British Isles; later the name was extended to similar birds in other places.
grouse (v.) Look up grouse at
"complain," 1885 (implied in agent noun grouser), British Army slang, of uncertain origin. OED notes "a curious resemblance" to Normandy French dialectal groucer, from Old French groucier, grocier "to murmur, grumble, complain," which is of imitative origin (compare Greek gru "a grunt," gruzein "to grumble;" also see grutch). Related: Groused; grousing. As a noun from 1918, from the verb.
grout (n.) Look up grout at
"thin, fluid mortar" used in joints of masonry and brickwork, 1580s, extended from sense "coarse porridge," perhaps from Old English gruta (plural) "coarse meal," from Proto-Germanic *grut-, from PIE root *ghreu- "to rub, grind" (see grit (n.)). As a verb from 1838. Related: grouted; grouting.
grove (n.) Look up grove at
Old English graf "grove, copse, small wood" (akin to græafa "thicket"), not certainly found in other Germanic languages and with no known cognates. Groves of Academe refers to the shaded walks of the Academy at Athens.
grovel (v.) Look up grovel at
1590s, Shakespearean back-formation from groveling "on the face, prostrate" (mid-14c.), also used in Middle English as an adjective but probably really an adverb, from gruffe, from Old Norse grufe "prone" + obsolete adverbial suffix -ling (which survives also as the -long in headlong, sidelong). The Old Norse word is found in liggja à grufu "lie face-down," literally "lie on proneness." Old Norse also had grufla "to grovel," grufa "to grovel, cower, crouch down." The whole group is perhaps related to creep (v.). Related: Groveled; grovelled; groveling; grovelling.
grow (v.) Look up grow at
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- (cognates: 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]
grow up (v.) Look up grow up at
"advance toward maturity," 1530s, from grow (v.) + up (adv.). As a command to be sensible, from 1951.
grower (n.) Look up grower at
"one who produces," mid-15c., agent noun from grow (v.). Meaning "that which increases" is from 1560s.
growing (adj.) Look up growing at
Old English, present participle adjective from grow (v.). Growing season is attested from 1729; growing pains by 1752.
growing (n.) Look up growing at
late 14c., "a gradual increase, action of causing to increase," verbal noun from grow (v.). Meaning "that which has grown, a crop" is from 1540s. Dialectal growsome "tending to make things grow" is from 1570s.
growl (v.) Look up growl at
1660s, from Middle English grollen "to rumble, growl" (early 15c.), from Old French grouler "to rumble," said to be from Frankish; probably ultimately of imitative origin. Related: Growled; growling. The noun is 1727, from the verb.
growler (n.) Look up growler at
"pitcher or other vessel for beer," 1885, American English slang, of uncertain origin; apparently an agent noun from growl (v.). The thing itself owes its popularity to laws prohibiting sale of liquor on Sundays and thus the tippler's need to stock up. Also in early use in the expression work the growler "go on a spree." Also late 19c. slang for a four-wheeled cab.
grown (adj.) Look up grown at
late 14c., "increased in growth," past participle adjective from grow (v.). Meaning "arrived at full growth, mature" is from 1640s.
grown-up (adj.) Look up grown-up at
"mature," late 14c., past participle adjective from grow up. The noun meaning "adult person" is from 1813, short for grown-up person, etc.
growse (n.) Look up growse at
obsolete spelling of grouse (n.).
growse (v.) Look up growse at
"shiver, have a chill," Northern England dialect, probably from an unrecorded Old English equivalent to Old High German gruwison "be in terror, shudder," German grausen (see gruesome).
growth (n.) Look up growth at
1550s, "stage in growing," from grow + -th (2), on model of health, stealth, etc. Compare Old Norse groði, from groa "to grow." Meaning "that which has grown" is from 1570s; "process of growing" is from 1580s. Old English used grownes "increase, prosperity."
groyne (n.) Look up groyne at
"strong, low sea wall," 1580s, perhaps from obsolete groin "pig's snout" (c. 1300; the wall so called because it was thought to look like one), from Old French groin "muzzle, snout; promontory, jutting part," from Latin grunnire "to grunt" (compare English colloquial grunter "a pig").
grub (v.) Look up grub at
c. 1300, "dig in the ground," from hypothetical Old English *grybban, *grubbian, from West Germanic *grubbjan (cognates: Middle Dutch grobben, Old High German grubilon "to dig, search," German grübeln "to meditate, ponder"), from PIE *ghrebh- (2) "to dig, bury, scratch" (see grave (n.)). Transitive sense "dig up by the roots" is from 1550s. Related: Grubbed; grubbing.
grub (n.) Look up grub at
"larva of an insect," early 15c., perhaps from grub (v.) on the notion of "digging insect," or from the possibly unrelated Middle English grub "dwarfish fellow" (c. 1400). Meaning "dull drudge" is 1650s. The slang sense of "food" is first recorded 1650s, said to be from birds eating grubs, but also often linked with bub "drink."
grub-stake (n.) Look up grub-stake at
also grubstake, "material, provisions, etc. supplied to an enterprise (originally a prospector) in return for a share in the profits," by 1876, American English western mining slang, from grub (n.) + stake (n.2).
Grub-street (n.) Look up Grub-street at
1620s, "originally the name of a street in Moorfields in London, much inhabited by writers of small histories, dictionaries, and temporary poems; whence any mean production is called grubstreet" [Johnson]. The place was renamed 1830 to Milton Street (after a local developer) then erased entirely 1970s by the Barbicon complex.
grubber (n.) Look up grubber at
"digger," late 13c. as a surname; 1590s as a tool, agent noun from grub (v.). Meaning "one who gets wealth contemptibly" is from 1570s.
grubby (adj.) Look up grubby at
"dirty," by 1845, from grub (n.) in a sense of "dirty child" (who presumably got that way from digging in earth) + -y (2). Earlier it was used in a sense of "stunted, dwarfish" (1610s) and "infested with grubs" (1725). Related: Grubbily; grubbiness.