verb grov·el \ˈgrä-vəl, ˈgrə-\

: 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

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

Full Definition of GROVEL

intransitive verb
:  to creep with the face to the ground :  crawl
a :  to lie or creep with the body prostrate in token of subservience or abasement
b :  to abase oneself
:  to give oneself over to what is base or unworthy :  wallow <groveling in self-pity>
grov·el·er \-vəl-ər\ noun
grov·el·ing·ly \-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

Related to GROVEL

Rhymes with GROVEL

GROVEL Defined for Kids


verb grov·el \ˈgrä-vəl, ˈgrə-\
grov·eled or grov·elledgrov·el·ing or grov·el·ling

Definition of GROVEL for Kids

:  to kneel, lie, or crawl on the ground (as in fear)
:  to act toward someone in a weak or humble way <He groveled before the king.>


Next Word in the Dictionary: grovelessPrevious Word in the Dictionary: GroveAll Words Near: grovel
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears