Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

grovel

play
verb grov·el \ˈgrä-vəl, ˈgrə-\

Simple Definition of grovel

  • : to kneel, lie, or crawl on the ground

  • : to treat someone with too much respect or fear in a way that shows weakness in order to be forgiven or to gain approval or favor

Full Definition of grovel

grov·eled or grov·elledgrov·el·ing or grov·el·ling

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to creep with the face to the ground :  crawl

  3. 2 a :  to lie or creep with the body prostrate in token of subservience or abasement b :  to abase oneself

  4. 3 :  to give oneself over to what is base or unworthy :  wallow <groveling in self-pity>

grov·el·er play \-vəl-ər\ noun
grov·el·ing·ly play \-vəl-iŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of grovel

  1. The peasants groveled before the king.

  2. He had to grovel to get her to accept his apology.

  3. He made a groveling apology to his girlfriend.



Origin of grovel

back-formation from groveling prone, from groveling, adverb, from Middle English, from gruf, adverb, on the face (from Old Norse ā grūfu) + -ling


First Known Use: 1552

Rhymes with grovel


GROVEL Defined for Kids

grovel

play
verb grov·el \ˈgrä-vəl, ˈgrə-\

Definition of grovel

grov·eled or grov·elledgrov·el·ing or grov·el·ling

  1. 1 :  to kneel, lie, or crawl on the ground (as in fear)

  2. 2 :  to act toward someone in a weak or humble way <He groveled before the king.>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up grovel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 7, 2016

a slight offense

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

kittly-benders spindrift pince-nez duvet
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ