gross OR net?

Mr Gross and Mr Nett

We often use these adjectives when talking about money or weight. Basically, gross is bigger than net.

The gross amount can be the total after something (for example tax) has been added to the net amount. Look at this restaurant bill:

meal $10.00 net
tax + $1.00  
total $11.00 gross

The gross amount can also be the amount before something is deducted from it. This is typical if you earn a salary or wage. For example, you may earn a gross salary of $1000, but after the government has taken $300 in taxes you receive a net salary of just $700:

gross salary $1000
tax - $300
net salary $700

We often use the words gross and net when talking about weights of products and packaging. If you buy a jar of coffee in a supermarket, the weight of the coffee is shown on the label as something like "50 grams net". That is the weight of the coffee without the jar. The gross weight (coffee + jar) might be something like 200 grams. Food products do not normally show the gross weight because it's not important to you:

coffee 50 grams net weight
jar 150 grams  
total 200 grams gross weight

If you decide to post your new jar of coffee to a friend, the post office will charge you by gross weight, in this case the coffee + the jar + the packaging. To the post office the net weight is not important:

jar of coffee 200 grams net weight
packaging 100 grams  
total 300 grams gross weight

Look at these examples:

gross and net as verbs

Note that when talking about money, both gross and net can also be verbs. The verb to gross means "to earn a certain amount of money before tax and other costs are subtracted". The verb to net means "to earn a certain amount of money as clear profit (after taxes and other costs are subtracted)". Here are some examples of gross and net as verbs:

Note that on this page we are talking about gross and net in the sense of a "larger amount" and "smaller amount". But both words have other meanings too. For example, as a noun net can mean something like a mesh that fishermen use to catch fish. And as an adjective gross can also mean "very wrong and obvious" (as in "a gross violation of human rights").