\ ˈgrōp How to pronounce grope (audio) \
groped; groping

Definition of grope

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to feel about blindly or uncertainly in search grope for the light switch
2 : to look for something blindly or uncertainly grope for the right words
3 : to feel one's way groped along the dark passage

transitive verb

1 : feel up claims that her boss tried to grope her
2 : to find (one's way) by groping


plural gropes

Definition of grope (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of groping made a grope for the light switch And what are these clumsy, embarrassing, fumbling encounters if they are not passes, beery gropes in the dark?— Nick Hornby

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Other Words from grope


groper noun

Synonyms for grope

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of grope in a Sentence

Verb I groped for the light switch. She groped around in her purse, looking for her comb. We groped along the dark passage. She claims that her boss tried to grope her.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Here’s what to know: What are the groping allegations against Boris Johnson? Rachael Bunyan, Time, "Boris Johnson Is Facing Allegations That He Groped Women and Misused Public Funds. Here's What to Know," 2 Oct. 2019 The groping allegation comes hot on the heels of another dangerous story for Johnson. Luke Mcgee, CNN, "The women of Boris Johnson's past are starting to catch up with him," 30 Sep. 2019 Several accusers have said Fischer groped, hugged or tried to kiss them. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Ex-deputy accused of misconduct with 16 women pleads guilty," 9 Sep. 2019 Burdick, 48, is accused of groping driving students during practice or test drives and would instruct some of the young women to perform jumping jacks to record them on his cellphone, van Kleef said. oregonlive, "Portland Community College driver’s ed teacher accused of sexually abusing 20 students," 5 Sep. 2019 The groping allegation was first brought in 2017, days after Spacey’s first accuser, actor Anthony Rapp, said Spacey climbed on top of him on a bed when Rapp was 14 and Spacey 26. Washington Post, "Kevin Spacey’s legal woes persist even with groping case out," 18 July 2019 Some said Strauss groped them barehanded during physicals, had them drop their pants even while examining them for a cough or heartburn, and badgered students to go home with him. Kantele Franko, Adnrew Welsh-huggins, John Seewer,, "Ex-athletes say Ohio State doc groped, ogled men for years," 6 July 2018 The tape, filmed when Bush was starting his journalism career and leaked years later, caught him laughing along as Trump, then best known for NBC’s The Apprentice, made lewd comments and bragged about groping women. Eric Todisco,, "Billy Bush Says Infamous Trump Tape Was ‘Weaponized’: 'I Got Taken Out, but I Wasn't the Target'," 10 Sep. 2019 According to a search warrant affidavit filed by a county detective seeking Burdick’s employment records, the instructor had been arrested in October 2016 in Washington County on suspicion of groping three 16-year-old girls during driving lessons. oregonlive, "Portland Community College driver’s ed teacher accused of sexually abusing 20 students," 5 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grope.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of grope


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


circa 1513, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for grope


Middle English, from Old English grāpian; akin to Old English grīpan to seize

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Statistics for grope

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for grope

The first known use of grope was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for grope


How to pronounce grope (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of grope

: to search for something by reaching or touching usually with your fingers in an awkward way
: to move forward carefully by putting your hands in front of you so that you can feel anything that blocks you
: to touch (someone) in an unwanted and unexpected sexual way


\ ˈgrōp How to pronounce grope (audio) \
groped; groping

Kids Definition of grope

1 : to move along by feeling with the hands He groped along the dark hallway.
2 : to seek by or as if by feeling around She groped for the light switch. He was groping for an answer.

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More from Merriam-Webster on grope

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grope

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grope

Spanish Central: Translation of grope

Nglish: Translation of grope for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grope for Arabic Speakers

Comments on grope

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to speed up the process or progress of

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