When something is disgusting or makes you feel a little sick inside because it’s unattractive or ugly, you can use the word "gross."

  • Ed puts ketchup on everything he eats. I think that’s gross.
  • There’s a picture of a woman kissing a monkey. That’s gross.
  • Why does he have to be so gross?
  • We saw a really gross movie last night. In fact, it was so gross, we walked out of the theater.
  • sick manHe’s coughing and sneezing all over the place. That’s really gross.

During the tax season in the United States, you often hear the word "gross" used when talking about salaries and profits. The "gross amount" is the amount of money you made before taxes and expenses:

  • What was your gross salary last year? (This question uses "gross" as an adjective.)
  • How much did you gross last year? (This question uses "gross" as a verb.)
  • Their company grossed over a million dollars in one month.
  • Do you know the difference between "gross" and "net"? *

You can also use the word "gross" as an adjective to describe a bad situation:

  • This is a gross injustice.
  • They made a gross error in estimating the number of people who would show up for the event.
  • This is grossly incorrect. (Add "ly" to make the adverb.)
  • He’s grossly overweight.

*Note: The difference between "gross" and "net" is very important to understand. When describing your salary, for instance, the gross amount is the larger amount shown in your paycheck. This is how much you are paid. The net amount is the amount of money that you actually take home. Some people refer to this as "take home pay." The net amount is the the money you have after taxes and other deductions are taken out of your paycheck.

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This page was first published on April 6, 2012. It was amended on February 7, 2015.