A grouse is a plump little bird. Don’t like birds? You can grouse, or complain, about them. The word grouse means both, but a grouse wouldn’t grouse because birds don’t whine.

The word grouse has been around since the 1500s, referring to a ground-dwelling game bird with feathery feet and legs. It’s a bird, so people hunt it, which is maybe how grouse came to mean “to complain” a few hundred years later. You might grouse about the amount of homework your social studies teacher assigns or about the terrible weather or about the high price of gas. People will grouse about pretty much anything!

Definitions of grouse
  1. noun
    popular game bird having a plump body and feathered legs and feet
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    black grouse
    grouse of which the male is bluish-black
    large Arctic and subarctic grouse with feathered feet and usually white winter plumage
    Tetrao urogallus, capercaillie, capercailzie, horse of the wood
    large black Old World grouse
    Canachites canadensis, spruce grouse
    North American grouse that feeds on evergreen buds and needles
    Centrocercus urophasianus, sage grouse, sage hen
    large grouse of sagebrush regions of North America
    Bonasa umbellus, partridge, ruffed grouse
    valued as a game bird in eastern United States and Canada
    Pedioecetes phasianellus, sharp-tailed grouse, sprig tail, sprigtail
    large grouse of prairies and open forests of western North America
    prairie chicken, prairie fowl, prairie grouse
    brown mottled North American grouse of western prairies
    European black grouse, Lyrurus tetrix, heathfowl
    large northern European grouse that is black with a lyre-shaped tail
    Asian black grouse, Lyrurus mlokosiewiczi
    a black grouse of western Asia
    black cock, blackcock
    male black grouse
    gray hen, grayhen, grey hen, greyhen, heath hen
    female black grouse
    Lagopus scoticus, moor-bird, moorbird, moorfowl, moorgame, red grouse
    reddish-brown grouse of upland moors of Great Britain
    Tympanuchus cupido, greater prairie chicken
    the most common variety of prairie chicken
    Tympanuchus pallidicinctus, lesser prairie chicken
    a smaller prairie chicken of western Texas
    Tympanuchus cupido cupido, heath hen
    extinct prairie chicken
    type of:
    game bird
    any bird (as grouse or pheasant) that is hunted for sport
  2. noun
    flesh of any of various grouse of the family Tetraonidae; usually roasted; flesh too dry to broil
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    type of:
    flesh of any of a number of wild game birds suitable for food
  3. verb
    hunt grouse
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    type of:
    hunt fowl in the forest
  4. verb
    synonyms: beef, bellyache, bitch, crab, gripe, holler, squawk
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    type of:
    complain, kick, kvetch, plain, quetch, sound off
    express complaints, discontent, displeasure, or unhappiness
Word Family

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