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Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English greve, from Old English grǣfe, grǣfa (bush, bramble, grove, thicket, copse, brush-wood (for burning), fuel). Cognate with Scots greve, greave (grove). Compare also Proto-Germanic *grainiz (twig), of unknown origin, whence Old Norse grein (branch, bough). Closely related to Old English grāf, grāfa (grove). See grove.


greave (plural greaves)

  1. (obsolete) A bush; a tree; a grove.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Spenser to this entry?)
  2. (obsolete) A bough; a branch.

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English greve, greyve, from Old English grǣfa, grēfa (pit, cave, hole, grave, trench), from Proto-Germanic *grōbō (pit, ditch), from Proto-Indo-European *gʰrebʰ- (to dig, scratch, scrape). Cognate with North Frisian groop (pit, sewer, gutter), Dutch groef (pit, hole, gutter), German Grube (pit, hole), Icelandic gröf (pit, grave).


greave (plural greaves)

  1. (obsolete) A ditch or trench.

Etymology 3Edit

From Middle English greve, grayve, from Old French greve (shin), of uncertain origin; possibly from Egyptian Arabic جورب(stocking, leg cover).

Alternative formsEdit


greave (plural greaves)

  1. A piece of armour that protects the leg, especially the shin.

Etymology 4Edit

From greaves (residue left after animal fat has been rendered).


greave (third-person singular simple present greaves, present participle greaving, simple past and past participle greaved)

  1. (nautical, transitive) To clean (a ship's bottom); to grave.

See alsoEdit

  • greaves (residue left after animal fat has been rendered)


  • Klein, A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language