noun (used with a singular or plural verb)

hulled grain, as wheat or oats, broken into fragments.
hulled kernels of oats, buckwheat, or barley.

Origin of groats

before 1100; Middle English grotes (plural), Old English grot meal; akin to grits




a silver coin of England, equal to four pennies, issued from 1279 to 1662.

Origin of groat

1325–75; Middle English groot < Middle Dutch groot large, name of a large coin; see great Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for groats

Historical Examples of groats

  • But this being so, and you but half-hearted, I tell you, it is too dangerous a game to play for groats.

    The Wild Geese

    Stanley John Weyman

  • You silly boy, we don't play for groats here as you do at Cambridge.

  • A practical conversation about groats, a goose, and a quarrel with Grandmother.

    The Precipice

    Ivan Goncharov

  • "A goose, stuffed with groats, would be acceptable," put in Raisky.

    The Precipice

    Ivan Goncharov

  • First we peeped in the window between the glasses of groats.

British Dictionary definitions for groats


pl n

the hulled and crushed grain of oats, wheat, or certain other cereals
the parts of oat kernels used as food

Word Origin for groats

Old English grot particle; related to grota fragment, as in meregrota pearl; see grit, grout



an English silver coin worth four pennies, taken out of circulation in the 17th century

Word Origin for groat

C14: from Middle Dutch groot, from Middle Low German gros, from Medieval Latin (denarius) grossus thick (coin); see groschen
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 groats

"hulled grain coarsely ground or crushed; oatmeal," early 14c., from grot "piece, fragment," from Old English grot "particle," from same root as grit. The word also meant "excrement in pellets" (mid-15c.).



medieval European coin, late 14c., probably from Middle Dutch groot, elliptical use of adj. meaning "great, big" (in sense of "thick"); see great. Recognized from 13c. in various nations, in 14c. it was roughly one-eighth an ounce of silver; the English groat coined 1351-2 was worth four pence. Also cf. groschen.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper