GROOM, in modern usage a male servant attached to the stables, whose duties are to attend to the cleaning, feeding, currying and care generally of horses. The earliest meaning of the word appears to be that of a boy, and in 16th and 17th century literature it frequently occurs, in pastorals, for a shepherd lover. Later it is used for any male attendant, and thus survives in the name for several officials in the royal household, such as the grooms-in-waiting, and the grooms of the great chamber. The groom-porter, whose office was abolished by George III., saw to the preparation of the sovereign's apartment, and, during the 16th and 17th centuries, provided cards and dice for playing, and was the authority to whom were submitted all questions of gaming within the court. The origin of the word is obscure. The O. Fr. gromet, shop boy, is taken by French etymologists to be derived from the English. From the application of this word to a wine-taster in a wine merchant's shop, is derived gourmet, an epicure. According to the New English Dictionary, though there are no instances of groom in other Teutonic languages, the word may be ultimately connected with the root of "to grow." In "bridegroom," a newly married man, "grom" in the 16th century took the place of an older gome, a common old Teutonic word meaning "man," and connected with the Latin homo. The Old English word was brydguma, later bridegome. The word survives in the German Brautigam.
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