• grouse •
Part of Speech: Noun, Verb, Adjective
Meaning: 1. (Noun, plural: grouse) A feather-footed game bird indigenous to the British Isles belonging to the genera Tetrao and Lagopus "rabbit-foot". 2. (Verb) To complain, grumble. 3. (Adjective, Australian and New Zealand slang) Excellent, fine, outstanding, bonzer.
Notes: Today we are even luckier than usual: we get three Good Words for the price (and pronunciation) of one, including a gift from Australia. When we sit down at an Australian table we hope to be served grouse tucker. Which part of a grouse is that, I hear our non-Aussie readers ask. Well, don't grouse about it; it isn't as bad as it sounds. In fact, grouse need not be any part of grouse tucker since tucker in Australia is food. So this one spelling, grouse, covers a noun, an adjective, and a verb, each with its own discrete meaning.
In Play: Today we are looking at the Australian usage of grouse but we might throw in the verb and noun, too: "I know a grouse spot to hunt bonzer grouse, mate." Now, let's review our Australian vocabulary from today's Good Word (if you are not too tuckered): "Riley has a bonzer wife who fills his tucker-bag with grouse tucker before she sends him off to work." Now, we are ready to visit Australia and New Zealand!
Word History: No one has any idea where the Australians and New Zealanders got the adjective grouse. The verb has been around since at least the 13th century, when it was spelled grucche, suggestive of an Italian origin. This word continued on as grutch down through the 16rh century before dying out. But the verb more likely comes from Old French groucher, grocher, gruchier "to murmur, grumble", the source of grouch and grudge. If so, no one knows where the Old French word came from, leaving us again in the dark. Certainly, no one has found a semantic relation that would draw these three mysterious words together into a shared origin.
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