Gross (unit)
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Gross Unit

In English and related languages, several terms involving the words "great" or "gross" (possibly, from French: grosse thick) relate to numbers involving a multiple of exponents of twelve (dozen):

  • A gross refers to a group of 144 items (a dozen dozen or a square dozen, 122).[1][2]
  • A great gross refers to a group of 1728 items (a dozen gross or a cubic dozen, 123).[1][2]
  • A small gross[3] or a great hundred[4] refers to a group of 120 items (ten dozen, 10×12).

The term dates from the early 15th century, from the Old French grosse douzaine, "large dozen".[5] A gross may be abbreviated as "gr" or "gro".

The continued use of these numbers in measurement and counting represents a continuation of the tradition of the duodecimal number system in everyday life[6] and has encouraged groups such as the Dozenal Society of America to advocate for a wider use of such a numbering system in place of decimal.[7][8]


  1. ^ a b Schwartzman, Steven (1996), The Words of Mathematics: An Etymological Dictionary of Mathematical Terms Used in English, Mathematical Association of America, pp. 100-101, ISBN 9780883855119.
  2. ^ a b Darling, David (2004), The Universal Book of Mathematics: From Abracadabra to Zeno's Paradoxes, John Wiley & Sons, p. 140, ISBN 9780471270478.
  3. ^ Wright, Carroll Davidson (1910), The New Century Book of Facts: A Handbook of Ready Reference, King-Richardson Company, p. 462.
  4. ^ Wells, David (1997), The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers (3rd ed.), Penguin, p. 66, ISBN 9780140261493.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Gullberg, Jan (1997), Mathematics: From the Birth of Numbers, W. W. Norton & Company, ISBN 9780393040029.
  7. ^ Dudley, Underwood (1996), Mathematical Cranks, Cambridge University Press, p. 22, ISBN 9780883855072.
  8. ^ Bellos, Alex (2012-12-12), "Dozenalists of the world unite! Rise up against the tyranny of ten!", The Guardian.

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