verb (used with object)
  1. to occupy completely, as the mind or attention; absorb: Their discussion engrossed his attention. She is engrossed in her work.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 self-engrossed

Historical Examples of self-engrossed

  • I hate talking to a man who is too self-engrossed to pay me attention.

    Lover or Friend

    Rosa Nouchette Carey

  • How unsympathetic she had been; how self-engrossed; how callous to the sensibilities of others!

    The Man

    Bram Stoker

  • As a rule the people I have been brought in contact with have been hard and self-engrossed.


    Edgar Saltus

  • He would not ever be able to understand her wish to be alone, or to be self-engrossed.


    Frank Swinnerton

  • Nellie's opaque, self-engrossed eyes were continually fixed on some distant object.


    Evelyn Scott

British Dictionary definitions for self-engrossed


verb (tr)
  1. to occupy one's attention completely; absorb
  2. to write or copy (manuscript) in large legible handwriting
  3. law to write or type out formally (a deed, agreement, or other document) preparatory to execution
  4. 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 self-engrossed



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