Word of the Day


Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


a large brown bird that lives on the ground and is hunted for its meat

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary

Origin and usage

The origin of the noun grouse is uncertain. It was first used in English in the 16th century. The verb has a different origin, also uncertain, and was first used in the 19th century.


Although there are several different types of grouse, in common use the word refers to the red grouse, a medium-sized game bird that in this country is one of the main targets of the game shooting industry. News that grouse shooting and other forms of hunting with guns are among the activities exempted from the new ‘rule of six’ imposed on gatherings throughout the UK provoked a variety of reactions, including outrage, sarcasm and hilarity. People were quick to suggest that hunting these moorland birds could be used as a cover for activities ranging from children’s birthday parties and family get-togethers to communal activities that are currently banned, such as choral singing. Grouse is also a verb, meaning to complain, generally about things that are unimportant.


“The red grouse is a medium-sized game bird. It has a short tail and a lightly hook-tipped bill.”

Buyers grouse about a lack of information about what they’re buying.
(enTenTen15 corpus)

Related words

partridge, pheasant, woodcock

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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