Recorded as Gros, Grose, Grouse, Gross, Grosse (English), Gross, Groze, Groz, Groos (Dutch and German), this is a surname which is ultimately of pre 5th century Germanic origins. All surname spellings were originally nicknames and all have the meaning of big or large. Given the robust humour of the medieval period, it is likely that most if not all meant the reverse of what they seem to say, although this may not apply to the many German compounds. Examples of these include Grossbauer (Big farmer), Grooskopf (Big head), Grosman, Groseman and Grossman, (The friend of Gross), Grossnickel, (Big Nicholas) and many others. It is difficult to know how literally accurate these were and there are often several possible meaning or perhaps no real meaning at all. Grossman for instance could indicate either a big man, a small man, a friend or servant of a person called Gross, or lareg workman. Compound surnames were often purely ornamental and 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 too popular a surname such as Schmit or Schmidt. lders 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 Eblingen being recorded in 1352.
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