fully occupying the mind or attention; absorbing: I'm reading the most engrossing book.

Origin of engrossing

First recorded in 1475–85; engross + -ing2
Related formsen·gross·ing·ly, adverbnon·en·gross·ing, adjectivenon·en·gross·ing·ly, adverbun·en·gross·ing, adjective



verb (used with object)

to occupy completely, as the mind or attention; absorb: Their discussion engrossed his attention. She is engrossed in her work.
to write or copy in a clear, attractive, large script or in a formal manner, as a public document or record: to engross a deed.
to acquire the whole of (a commodity), in order to control the market; monopolize.

Origin of engross

1275–1325; Middle English engros(s)en to gather in large quantities, draft (a will, etc.) in final form < Anglo-French engrosser, partly < Medieval Latin ingrossāre to thicken, write large and thick (Latin in- in-2 + gross(us) thick + -āre infinitive suffix); partly < Anglo-French, Middle French en gros in quantity, wholesale < Latin in + grossus; see gross
Related formsen·gross·ed·ly [en-groh-sid-lee, -grohst-] /ɛnˈgroʊ sɪd li, -ˈgroʊst-/, adverben·gross·er, nounre·en·gross, verb (used with object)self-en·grossed, adjectiveun·en·grossed, adjective

Synonyms for engross

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for engrossing

Contemporary Examples of engrossing

Historical Examples of engrossing

  • The first impression of so strange a scene was engrossing admiration.

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Marry, you are right; you make an engrossing topic—you and your debauched father.

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

  • They prevented that engrossing study, which was often more than her health could bear.


    Dinah Maria Craik, (AKA Dinah Maria Mulock)

  • The most fascinating, engrossing and picturesque of the season's novels.

  • It kept me from dwelling too exclusively on one engrossing subject.

    Ernest Linwood

    Caroline Lee Hentz

British Dictionary definitions for engrossing



so interesting as to occupy one's attention completely; absorbing


verb (tr)

to occupy one's attention completely; absorb
to write or copy (manuscript) in large legible handwriting
law to write or type out formally (a deed, agreement, or other document) preparatory to execution
another word for corner (def. 21b)
Derived Formsengrossed, adjectiveengrossedly (ɪnˈɡrəʊsɪdlɪ), adverbengrosser, noun

Word Origin for engross

C14 (in the sense: to buy up wholesale): from Old French en gros in quantity; C15 (in the sense: to write in large letters): probably from Medieval Latin ingrossāre; both from Latin grossus thick, gross
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for engrossing



c.1400, "to buy up the whole stock of" (in Anglo-French from c.1300), from Old French en gros "in bulk, in a large quantity, at wholesale," as opposed to en detail. See gross.

Figurative sense of "absorb the whole attention" is first attested 1709. A parallel engross, meaning "to write (something) in large letters," is from Anglo-French engrosser, from Old French en gros "in large (letters)." Related: Engrossed; engrossing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper