Recorded in many forms including Gros, Gross, Grose, Grosse, Groz, Groos, and compounds such as Grossbauer, Grooskopf, Grosman, Groseman and Grossman, this is a surname recorded in the British Isles over many centuries, but essentially of Germanic pre 6th century origins. Gross means big or large, and in most cases with the surname it originally meant what it says. For example as Grossman, this 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 very popular name like Schmit or Schmidt. This name was even more popular than in the British Isles and the government encouraged nameholders to adopt other identifiable names, of which this is a good example. 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.