\ 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 Around the same time, Anna Donner told her bosses that Yohner had tried to grope her. James Barragán, Dallas News, 14 May 2021 An older boy pulled out a knife, called her a slur, told her to go back to her country and then tried to kiss and grope her. oregonlive, 8 May 2021 In March, the Washington Post reported that while intoxicated, Reed rubbed Davis' back, moved his hand outside her shirt, unfastened her bra and continued to grope her in a bar in Minneapolis. Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2021 The women say Lane made hugging and kissing him a condition of their employment, using that as a chance to grope them and finding other ways to touch them on the breasts or buttocks. Jeff Amy, ajc, 3 Feb. 2021 Don’t wantonly reach out and grope any dog that wanders by. James Hamblin, The Atlantic, 26 Aug. 2020 Navarro-Cardenas, who also appears on ABC's The View, hasn't been shy about her vehement dislike of Trump, particularly after the 2016 release of an Access Hollywood tape in which the president can be heard bragging about being able to grope women. Washington Examiner, 5 Aug. 2020 And, as Harvey argues, Humboldt’s U.S. visit helped this country grope its way toward new cultural symbols. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, 1 July 2020 Prosecutors in September 2018 accused the Rev. Charles Hanel of groping a then-13-year-old girl inside a confessional in December 2017 at Queen of Apostles Church, N35 W23360 Capitol Drive, Pewaukee. Steven Martinez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10 June 2020

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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Learn More About grope

Time Traveler for grope

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near grope



grope one's way

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Statistics for grope

Cite this Entry

“Grope.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for grope



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.

More from Merriam-Webster on grope

Nglish: Translation of grope for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grope for Arabic Speakers


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