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Gross vs. Net: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 16, 2023
"Gross" refers to the total amount before deductions, while "net" is the amount remaining after deductions.

Key Differences

"Gross" and "net" are terms frequently employed in financial and economic contexts. They provide essential distinctions when discussing values, especially in areas like income, profit, or weight. "Gross" refers to the total or whole amount before any deductions are made, such as taxes or expenses. On the other hand, "net" represents the amount that remains after those deductions.
For instance, consider a paycheck. The "gross" pay is the total salary or wages earned for a particular period, without subtracting any deductions like taxes or insurance. After these amounts are deducted, the final amount that an individual actually receives is their "net" pay. This distinction is crucial for understanding and planning one's financial obligations and expectations.
Similarly, businesses also employ the terms "gross" and "net" when discussing profits. The "gross" profit is the total revenue generated before deducting costs like production, overheads, or taxes. After these deductions, the remaining profit is termed as "net" profit. This net figure gives a clearer picture of the actual profitability of a venture.
Even in contexts outside of finance, the distinction holds. If discussing weight, for example, "gross" weight might refer to the total weight of an item and its packaging. Once the packaging is removed, the "net" weight would represent the weight of the item alone.
In a nutshell, "gross" provides a comprehensive view, showcasing totals before any subtractions. In contrast, "net" delivers a precise, refined value, representing what remains after necessary deductions.

Comparison Chart


Total amount before any deductions.
Amount remaining after deductions.

Common Context

Financial, weights.
Financial, weights.

Example Sentence

The gross revenue was impressive.
The net profit was considerable after expenses.


Comprehensive view.
Refined value.


Used to understand the whole value before any subtractions.
Used to see the value after essential deductions.

Gross and Net Definitions


Total before deductions.
His gross income was higher this year.


A meshed fabric or tool for catching.
He used a net to catch the fish.


Entire, whole.
It was a gross misunderstanding.


Remaining amount after deductions.
Her net salary was sufficient for her needs.


Twelve dozen (144).
They ordered five gross of pens.


To earn as clear profit.
The company netted a significant profit this quarter.


Obvious and noticeable.
It was a gross violation of the rules.


Clear of all charges or deductions.
The net weight is listed on the label.


Coarse or unrefined.
He displayed gross behavior at the dinner.


To cover or trap using a net-like structure.
They netted the trees to protect them from birds.


Exclusive of deductions; total
Gross profits.


An openwork fabric made of threads or cords that are woven or knotted together at regular intervals.


Unmitigated in any way; utter
Gross incompetence.


A device for capturing birds, fish, or insects.


If I'm looking at the total weight including packaging, is that gross or net weight?

That would be the "gross" weight.

Can "gross" also refer to a set number, like in counting?

Yes, "gross" can mean twelve dozen, or 144 items.

Does "net" only refer to finances?

No, "net" can also refer to a meshed tool for catching or a verb meaning to earn.

What does "net" represent in terms of income?

"Net" represents the amount remaining after all deductions like taxes.

In terms of violations, what does "gross" mean?

"Gross" can refer to an obvious and serious violation.

Is the net amount always smaller than the gross amount?

Typically yes, as net is the amount after deductions from the gross.

What is net weight?

Net weight is the weight of an item without its packaging.

Can "gross" describe a mistake?

Yes, it can refer to an obvious and noticeable mistake.

How do I determine the gross amount if I have the net amount and the deductions?

Add the deductions to the net amount to determine the gross amount.

Which is more specific: gross or net?

"Net" is more specific as it accounts for necessary deductions from the gross amount.

How does a business calculate net profit?

By subtracting all expenses and costs from the gross revenue.

How is "gross" different from "total"?

While both can refer to a whole amount, "gross" emphasizes the amount before specific deductions.

Why are the terms "gross" and "net" important in finance?

They provide clarity on amounts before and after crucial deductions, helping with transparency and planning.

Is "gross" the amount before or after deductions?

"Gross" is the amount before deductions.

What's the difference between gross salary and net salary?

Gross salary is before deductions; net salary is what you take home after deductions.

Can "gross" describe behavior?

Yes, "gross" can mean coarse or unrefined, describing crude behavior.

If a company's revenue is $1,000 and expenses are $200, what's the net revenue?

The net revenue would be $800.

Can "net" be used as a verb?

Yes, "to net" can mean to earn as clear profit or to trap with a net.

Can "gross" and "net" apply to things other than money?

Yes, they can apply to measures like weight, area, and more.

What's the primary context for using "net"?

"Net" is commonly used in financial contexts but also refers to a meshed tool or action of catching.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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