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Etymology 1[edit]

1604, short for bridegroom(husband-to-be), from Middle English brydgrome, bridegome(bridegroom). That term derives from Old English brȳdguma(bridegroom), from brȳd(bride) + guma(man, hero), but with the second element re-analyzed as or influenced by groom(attendant). Guma derives from Proto-Germanic *gumô(man, person), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰǵʰm̥mō; it is cognate to Icelandic gumi and Norwegian gume and, ultimately, human.


groom (plural grooms)

  1. A man who is about to become or has recently become part of a married couple. Short form of bridegroom.
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Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English grom, grome(man-child, boy, youth), of uncertain origin. Apparently related to Middle Dutch grom(boy), Old Icelandic grómr, gromr(man, manservant, boy), Old French gromme(manservant), from the same Germanic root. Possibly from Old English *grōma, from Proto-Germanic *grōmô, related to *grōaną(to grow), though uncertain as *grōaną was used typically of plants; its secondary meaning being "to turn green".

Alternate etymology describes Middle English grom, grome as an alteration of gome(man) with an intrusive r (also found in bridegroom, hoarse, cartridge, etc.), with the Middle Dutch and Old Icelandic cognates following similar variation of their respective forms.


groom (plural grooms)

  1. A person who cares for horses.
    • 2013 January 1, Brian Hayes, “Father of Fractals”, in American Scientist[1], volume 101, number 1, page 62:
      Toward the end of the war, Benoit was sent off on his own with forged papers; he wound up working as a horse groom at a chalet in the Loire valley. Mandelbrot describes this harrowing youth with great sangfroid.
  2. One of several officers of the English royal household, chiefly in the lord chamberlain's department.
    the groom of the chamber; the groom of the stole


groom (third-person singular simple present grooms, present participle grooming, simple past and past participle groomed)

  1. To attend to one's appearance and clothing.
  2. To care for horses or other animals by brushing and cleaning them.
  3. To prepare someone for election or appointment.
    • 2013 May 11, “What a waste”, in The Economist[2], volume 407, number 8835, page 12:
      India is run by gerontocrats and epigones: grey hairs and groomed heirs.
  4. To prepare a ski slope for skiers
  5. (transitive) To attempt to gain the trust of a minor or adult with the intention of subjecting them to abusive or exploitative behaviour such as sexual abuse, human trafficking or sexual slavery.
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