from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various plump, chickenlike game birds of the family Tetraonidae, chiefly of the Northern Hemisphere and having mottled brown or grayish plumage.
  • intransitive v. To complain; grumble.
  • n. A cause for complaint; a grievance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Excellent.
  • n. Any of various game birds of the family Tetraonidae which inhabit temperate and subarctic regions of the northern hemisphere.
  • v. To seek or shoot grouse.
  • n. A cause for complaint.
  • v. To complain or grumble.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any of the numerous species of gallinaceous birds of the family Tetraonidæ, and subfamily Tetraoninæ, inhabiting Europe, Asia, and North America. They have plump bodies, strong, well-feathered legs, and usually mottled plumage. The group includes the ptarmigans (Lagopus), having feathered feet.
  • intransitive v. To seek or shoot grouse.
  • intransitive v. To complain or grumble.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To hunt or shoot grouse.
  • n. The Scotch ptarmigan, moorhen, or red-game, Tetrao or Lagopus scoticus, a British gallinaceous bird with feathered feet. It is a local modification or insular race of the common ptarmigan of Europe. Hence — 2. Some bird like the above; any bird of the family Tetraonidœ and subfamily Tetraoninæ.
  • n. In the widest sense, as a collective plural, the grouse family, Tetraonidæ. In this sense the word includes various partridges and related birds.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. complain
  • v. hunt grouse
  • n. popular game bird having a plump body and feathered legs and feet
  • n. flesh of any of various grouse of the family Tetraonidae; usually roasted; flesh too dry to broil


Origin unknown.
Perhaps from French dialectal groucer, from Old French grouchier; see grudge.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Attested in the 1530s, as grows, a plural used collectively. Of unknown origin. (Wiktionary)
As a verb from the late 19th century (first recorded by Kipling), as a noun from the early 20th; origin uncertain, possibly from French groucier "to murmur, grumble", in origin onomatopoeic. Compare grutch with the same meaning, but attestation from the 1200s, whence also grouch. (Wiktionary)
1940s, origin uncertain. (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Mrs. Hudson made this for Holmes and Watson's dinner in "The Dancing Men" episode.

    June 13, 2012

  • "It's ridiculous -- she's too old for him and he's a slow learner and a tenant and a Lamb, for gawdsake, but he's just the grousest looking boy, and his hot blue eyes make you go racy inside."
    Cloudstreet by Tim Winton, p 159 of the Graywolf Press hardcover edition

    March 31, 2010

  • Bodhi is correct, although this term is dated. I haven't heard it used in seriousness since the 1980's. It's true enough to say that many classic Australianisms - particularly those recognisable to foreigners - have fallen into disuse in recent years.

    January 21, 2009

  • Also Australian slang for bloody good, excellent, etc.

    September 11, 2008