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From Middle English engrossen, from Anglo-Norman engrosser (to gather in large quantities, draft something in final form); partly from the phrase en gros (in bulk, in quantity, at wholesale), from en- + gros; and partly from Medieval Latin ingrossō (thicken, write something large and in bold lettering, v.), from in- + grossus (great, big, thick), from Old High German grōz (big, thick, coarse), from Proto-Germanic *grautaz (large, great, thick, coarse grained, unrefined), from Proto-Indo-European *ghrewə- (to fell, put down, fall in). More at in-, gross.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɛnˈɡɹəʊs/, /ɛŋˈɡɹəʊs/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ɛnˈɡɹoʊs/, /ɛŋˈɡɹoʊs/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -əʊs


engross (third-person singular simple present engrosses, present participle engrossing, simple past and past participle engrossed)

  1. (transitive, now law) To write (a document) in large, aesthetic, and legible lettering; to make a finalized copy of.
    • Nathaniel Hawthorne
      some period long past, when clerks engrossed their stiff and formal chirography on more substantial materials
    • De Quincey
      laws that may be engrossed upon a finger nail
  2. (transitive, business, obsolete) To buy up wholesale, especially to buy the whole supply of (a commodity etc.).
  3. (transitive) To monopolize; to concentrate (something) in the single possession of someone, especially unfairly.
    • 1644, John Milton, Aeropagitica:
      After which time the Popes of Rome, engrossing what they pleas'd of Politicall rule into their owne hands, extended their dominion over mens eyes, as they had before over their judgements, burning and prohibiting to be read, what they fancied not []
    • 2007, John Burrow, A History of Histories, Penguin 2009, pp. 125-6:
      Octavian then engrosses for himself proconsular powers for ten years in all the provinces where more than one legion was stationed, giving him effective control of the army.
  4. (transitive) To completely engage the attention of.
    She seems to be completely engrossed in that book.
  5. (transitive, obsolete) To thicken; to condense.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.4:
      As, when a foggy mist hath overcast / The face of heven, and the cleare ayre engroste, / The world in darkenes dwels []
  6. (transitive, obsolete) To make gross, thick, or large; to thicken; to increase in bulk or quantity.
    • Edmund Spenser
      waves [] engrossed with mud
    • Shakespeare
      not sleeping, to engross his idle body
  7. (obsolete) To amass.
    • Shakespeare
      to engross up glorious deeds on my behalf


Coordinate termsEdit

  • (to write out in large characters): longhand

Related termsEdit



  • engross” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.