I've just discovered the verb "to grouse", and while I understand its meaning, I do not understand the difference with its counterpart "to complain". I've looked it up in a few dictionaries around, but most state both verbs as synonyms, and what explanations are given state they can be used interchangeably. I've also looked up the etymology of grouse, out of curiosity, and etymonline.com state the term used to be a british slang of unclear origin. Is there any particular rule regarding the usage of both verbs, nowadays? In what circumstances should I use one or the other?

  • Please include your research in your question, don't just mention. For example, include the names of which dictionaries you consulted. Commented Sep 29, 2018 at 5:08
  • 1
    @Knotell - it is clear that the OP has looked the term in a few dictionaries, plus they cite Etymonline, so I don’t see any real reason to CV this question.
    – user 66974
    Commented Sep 29, 2018 at 5:51

1 Answer 1


To grouse is to complain mainly about trivial things:

to complain, often about unimportant things.

(Macmillan Dictionary)

as Vocabulary.com notes:

People's excitement about the rise of the Internet has been largely replaced by disappointment that it's turned out to be essentially a forum for people to grouse. No disappointment is too small to grouse about on the Internet. Did you stub your toe? Grouse about it in your blog! Did your sister tattletale? Get online and start grousing. "I grouse, therefore I am," might be the motto of the Internet.

  • From www.etymonline.com, "complain," 1885 (implied in agent noun grouser), British Army slang, of uncertain origin. OED notes "a curious resemblance" to Normandy French dialectal groucer, from Old French groucier, grocier "to murmur, grumble, complain," which is of imitative origin (compare Greek gru "a grunt," gruzein "to grumble;" also see grutch). Related: Groused; grousing. As a noun from 1918, from the verb. Commented Sep 28, 2018 at 18:53

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