This is an ancient German surname. Recorded in many forms including Gros, Gross, Grosse, Groz, Groos, all meaning big or large, and given as a surname to a large (or perhaps a small!) person, and compounds based upon Gross such as Grossbauer (Big farmer), Grooskopf (Big head), Grosman, Groseman and Grossman (the friend of Gross), Grossnickel (big Nicholas), this was a name of medieval origins. It was in most cases a name which may have originally meant literally what it says, or as in the case of Grossman for instance could indicate either a big man, or more likely a friend or servant of a person called Gross. Compound surnames were not necessarily descriptive at all, they were often purely ornamental. As such they were given either to refugees from foreign parts, Germany being considered for centuries the most liberal part of Europe, or sometimes to people who had a common name like Schmit or Schmidt. Such was the prepondreance of this name that nameholders were encouraged by the government to adopt other more easily identifiable names, names which were designed from the begining to be pleasant and abstract. As examples we have for instance Grosslicht, which means literally 'good light', and Grossgluck, 'great good fortune'. Clearly it is very unlikely that a person would for any normal reason be called 'good light,' unless there was a hidden meaning, and the same might be said for 'great good fortune', which is unlikely to be literally true. Perhaps the earliest recording in any form is that of Johan der Grosse of Dresden in the charters of that city in the year1309, with Kunzlin Grosman of Ebligen being recorded in 1352.
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