Roberto asked about the word gross, trying to piece together
how 144 pencils (or other items) and repellant corpulence connect.
All senses of the word track back to the Latin grossus
, thick, bulky, stout. Once upon
a time, a gross was a medieval coin. Its value varied from country to country.
In England, it was eventually called a groat.
Used as a noun, a gross is twelve dozen of any item. The
first instance in the OED dates to 1411. As an adjective, gross has meant
massive, big-bodied, unwholesomely fat, palpable, flagrant, total (gross vs.
net), dense, composed of material, solid, coarse, stupid, rough and ready, and
The same thread runs through what
a movie grosses, the Scarlet Grosbeak, a concerto grosso, the gross national
product, and grossing someone out.
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