GROSS, properly thick, bulky, the meaning of the Late Lat. grossus. The Latin word has usually been taken as cognate with crassus, thick, but this is now doubted. It also appears not to be connected with the Ger. gross, a Teutonic word represented in English by " great." Apart from its direct meaning, and such figurative senses as coarse, vulgar or flagrant, the chief uses are whole, entire, without deduction, as opposed to " net," or as applied to that which is sold in bulk as opposed to " retail " (cf. " grocer " and " engrossing "). As a unit of tale, "gross" equals 12 dozen, 144, sometimes known as "small gross," in contrast with "great gross," i.e. 12 gross, 144 dozen. As a technical expression in English common law, "in gross" is applied to an incorporeal hereditament attached to the person of an owner, in contradistinction to one which is appendant or appurtenant, that is, attached to the ownership of land (see COMMONS).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)