General English

  • adjective total; with nothing taken away


  • verb to make as a gross profit or earn as gross income


  • Before deduction. Contrasts with net. Just what is deducted to get from gross to net depends on the context.

Human Resources

  • adjective very serious

Information & Library Science

  • noun the total amount before any deductions have been made

Media Studies

  • verb to multiply a survey group by a particular factor in order to estimate results for a larger population


  • adjective disgusting, distasteful. An Americanism of the mid-1960s, particularly popular among teenage girls. It is a fashionable usage of the standard term (from Latin grossus, meaning thick, via french and Middle English) in its sense of excessive, vulgar or obscene.

Origin & History of “gross”

Gross comes via Old French gros from late Latin grossus ‘large, bulky’, a word of unknown origin (not related to German gross ‘large’). Its association with literal physical size has now largely died out in English, in the face of a growing figurative role in such senses as ‘coarse, vulgar’ and (of amounts) ‘total, entire’. Its use as a noun meaning ‘144’, which dates from the 15th century, comes from the French phrase grosse douzaine ‘large dozen’. Grocer is a derivative, as is engross (14th c.); this originally meant ‘buy up wholesale’, hence ‘gain exclusive possession of’ and, by metaphorical extension, ‘occupy all the attention of’.