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Alternative forms[edit]


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-West Germanic *graut, 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): /ɪnˈɡɹəʊs/, /ɪŋˈɡɹəʊs/, /ɛnˈɡɹəʊs/, /ɛŋˈɡɹəʊs/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ɪnˈɡɹəʊs/, /ɪŋˈɡɹəʊs/, /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.
    Coordinate term: longhand
    • 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Custom-house. Introductory to ‘The Scarlet Letter.’”, in The Scarlet Letter, a Romance, Boston, Mass.: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, →OCLC, page 34:
      This envelope had the air of an official record of some period long past, when clerks engrossed their stiff and formal chirography on more substantial materials than at present.
    • 1846, Thomas De Quincey, “On Christianity, as an Organ of Political Movement”, in Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine:
      laws that may be engrossed upon a finger nail
    • 1849 May – 1850 November, Charles Dickens, The Personal History of David Copperfield, London: Bradbury & Evans, [], published 1850, →OCLC:
      Wherefore Mr. Micawber [] set to work at the petition, invented it, engrossed it on an immense sheet of paper, spread it out on a table, and appointed a time for all the club, and all within the walls if they chose, to come up to his room and sign it.
  2. (transitive, business, obsolete) To buy up wholesale, especially to buy the whole supply of (a commodity etc.).
    Synonym: corner the market
  3. (transitive) To monopolize; to concentrate (something) in the single possession of someone, especially unfairly.
    • 1644, John Milton, Areopagitica; a Speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicenc’d Printing, to the Parlament of England, London: [s.n.], →OCLC, page 7:
      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 fanſied not; []
    • 1847 March 30, Herman Melville, Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas; [], London: John Murray, [], →OCLC:
      The Coral Islands are principally visited by the pearl-shell fishermen, who arrive in small schooners, carrying not more than five or six men. For a long while the business was engrossed by Merenhout, the French Consul at Tahiti, but a Dutchman by birth, who, in one year, is said to have sent to France fifty thousand dollars' worth of shells.
    • 2007, John Burrow, A History of Histories, Penguin Books, published 2009, pages 125–126:
      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.
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, translated by H.L. Brækstad, Folk and Fairy Tales, page 250:
      Having made a few vain attempts at engrossing my attention in my book, I was obliged to let myself be carried away by the impetuous torrent of the squire's eloquence.
  5. (transitive, obsolete) To thicken; to condense.
    Synonyms: inspissate; see also Thesaurus:thicken
  6. (transitive, obsolete) To make gross, thick, or large; to thicken; to increase in bulk or quantity.
  7. (obsolete) To amass.
    Synonyms: amound, hoard; see also Thesaurus:amass

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