Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To behave in a servile or obsequious manner.
  • intransitive verb To lie or creep in a prostrate position, as in subservience or humility.
  • intransitive verb To give oneself over to base pleasures.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To creep or crawl on the earth, or with the face and body bent to the ground; lie prone, or move with the body prostrate on the earth; especially, to lie prostrate in abject humility, fear, etc.
  • Hence To have a tendency toward or take pleasure in low or base things; be low, abject, or mean; be morally depraved.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To creep on the earth, or with the face to the ground; to lie prone, or move uneasily with the body prostrate on the earth; to lie flat on one's belly, expressive of abjectness; to crawl.
  • intransitive verb To tend toward, or delight in, what is sensual or base; to be low, abject, or mean.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To be prone on the ground.
  • verb To crawl
  • verb To abase oneself before another person.
  • verb To be nice to someone or apologize in the hope of securing something.
  • verb To take pleasure in mundane activities.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb show submission or fear

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Back-formation from obsolete groveling, prone, face downward, from Middle English : (on) grufe, face downwards (from Old Norse ā grūfu, from grūfa, to grovel) + -ling, adv. suff.; see –ling.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old Norse á grufu ("on one's belly") ( > Old Norse grúfa ("to grovel")).

Examples

  • If the rulers of other countries want to grovel, that is their privilege, but I don't want my country groveling before anyone.

    Propeller Most Popular Stories

  • If the rulers of other countries want to grovel, that is their privilege, but I don't want my country groveling before anyone.

    Propeller Most Popular Stories

  • If the rulers of other countries want to grovel, that is their privilege, but I don't want my country groveling before anyone.

    Propeller Most Popular Stories

  • If the rulers of other countries want to grovel, that is their privilege, but I don't want my country groveling before anyone.

    Propeller Most Popular Stories

  • The fact is he doesn't have to 'grovel' to anyone.

    On Thursday, the Legg report will be published along with...

  • Sunday, Oct. 29, 2006 @ 6: 26 p.m. Hmmm, I haven't seen Not-Green-Eyed-Guy since he contacted me to "grovel".

    madrigle Diary Entry

  • It is pretty hard to hold a "grovel" several stones heavier for over an hour, and this year even Armour was a little doubtful about the lightness of his side.

    The Loom of Youth

  • Jeffries was ubiquitous; he led the "grovel" (as the scrum was called at Fernhurst), and kept it together.

    The Loom of Youth

  • The same threat would apply to ambassadors from other nations that treat Israel similarly, he added - echoing the attitude of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has instructed Israeli diplomats not to "grovel" before their host countries.

    The Seattle Times

  • The same threat would apply to ambassadors from other nations that treat Israel similarly, he added -- echoing the attitude of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has instructed Israeli diplomats not to "grovel" before their host countries.

    TODAY'S ZAMAN :: News

Comments

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  • In ornithological days, at the observatory, we used, not infrequently, to discover moribund specimends. They seemed always to have grovelled into some niche to quietly get on with it...

    - Peter Reading, C, 1984

    July 4, 2008

  • Back-formation from grovelling.

    July 2, 2010