The word gravy was first attested in English in the late fourteenth-century cookbook The Forme of Cury, when it was spelled gravey (other early forms included greve, grovy, greavie, greavy, and gravie). It was borrowed from Old French grave, which meant the same thing and came about through a misspelling of their word for "stew", grané. That in turn traces to the Latin word for "seed", granum, on the notion of soups being seasoned with grain-like spices. Granum, which also happens to be the source of our words grain, granary, granite, and pomegranate, ultimately is reconstructed to the Proto-Indo-European root grhnom. also meaning "seed". Historically, literary usage of the noun gravy peaked in 1787 and Google searches for it unsurprisingly spike in November.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.