great gross

Gross (unit)

A gross is equal to a dozen dozen, i.e. 12 × 12 = 144.

It can be used in duodecimal counting.

The term is often used in commercial contexts implying a quantity of 144 items. A count of 1728 or a dozen gross equals a great gross. Though a gross is often said to mean simply "144", it is subject to the usage rules for a unit, as opposed to those for numbers:

  1. it is always preceded by an article or a number;
  2. when the preceding word is a number, it often implies multiplication rather than combining that number of separate counts, e.g. "two gross" can refer equally to a single container into which 288 items were counted, or to a pair of containers into each of which 144 were counted
  3. normally (i.e., save for in situations justifying extreme brevity), specifying the kind of objects being counted may not be done by positioning the kind directly following "gross", but requires that the word "of" intervene, e.g. "288 apples", but "two gross of apples"

Its common abbreviations are either "gr" or "gro".

Trivia

In J.R.R. Tolkien's book, The Lord of the Rings, twelve dozen is "a number also called by the hobbits one Gross, though the word was not considered proper to use of people". The hobbit Bilbo Baggins greatly offends the guests at his birthday party when he speaks of them as being "one Gross".

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