noun, often attributive
\ ˈgrau̇nd \

Definition of ground 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : the bottom of a body of water

b grounds plural

(1) : sediment sense 1

(2) : ground coffee beans after brewing

2a : a basis for belief, action, or argument ground for complaint often used in plural sufficient grounds for divorce

b(1) : a fundamental logical condition

(2) : a basic metaphysical (see metaphysical sense 2) cause

3a : a surrounding area : background

b : material that serves as a substratum

4a : the surface of a planet (such as the earth or Mars)

b : an area used for a particular purpose the parade ground fishing grounds

c grounds plural : the area around and belonging to a house or other building

d : an area to be won or defended in or as if in battle

e : an area of knowledge or special interest covered a lot of ground in his lecture

5a : soil, earth

b : a special soil

6a : an object that makes an electrical connection with the earth

b : a large conducting body (such as the earth) used as a common return for an electric circuit and as an arbitrary zero of potential

c : electric connection with a ground

7 : a football offense utilizing primarily running plays

from the ground up

1 : entirely new or afresh The car has been redesigned from the ground up.

2 : from the very beginning : thoroughly built the resort from the ground up

into the ground

: beyond what is necessary or tolerable : to exhaustion labored an issue into the groundNewsweek

off the ground

: in or as if in flight : off to a good start the program never got off the ground

on the ground

: at the scene of action

to ground

1 : into a burrow the fox went to ground

2 : into hiding might need to make a run for it and go to ground someplace —Edward Hoagland


grounded; grounding; grounds

Definition of ground (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to bring to or place on the ground

b : to cause to run aground

2a : to provide a reason or justification for our fears about technological change may be well grounded —L. K. Williams

b : to furnish with a foundation of knowledge : base an understanding … that is grounded in fact —Michael Kimmelman

3 : to connect electrically with a ground

4a : to restrict to the ground ground a pilot

b : to prohibit from taking part in some usual activities grounded her for a week

5 : to throw (a football) intentionally to the ground to avoid being tackled for a loss

intransitive verb

1 : to have a ground or basis : rely

2 : to run aground The ship grounded on a mud bank.

3 : to hit a grounder grounded back to the pitcher


Definition of ground (Entry 3 of 3)

past tense and past participle of grind

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Examples of ground in a Sentence


An apple fell to the ground. Mechanical problems kept the plane on the ground. They were lying on the ground. The flight was watched by many observers on the ground. planting seeds in the ground She drove a spike into the ground. They built their house on bare ground. We realized that we were on hallowed ground. They built their house on high ground. Each fall the birds return to their wintering grounds.


They grounded the ship on a sandbar. The plane was grounded by mechanical problems. Bad weather grounded his flight. a pilot grounded by health problems
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Main Stage music area requires a Fish Day Button, available for $5 on the grounds. Elaine Rewolinski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Summer Guide July 15-21: Festivals and free concerts," 14 July 2018 In other cases, Chief Justice Roberts has convinced his colleagues to reach a consensus by deciding cases on narrow grounds. Jeffrey Rosen, WSJ, "What We Learn from Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings," 13 July 2018 Ray defended the resettlements on moral grounds in a 1979 speech in St. Louis, invoking the memory of the United States refusing asylum in 1939 for Jews fleeing Nazi Germany . Washington Post, "Former Iowa Gov. Ray’s legacy contrasts with modern GOP," 13 July 2018 As a result, more than 20 percent of all noncitizens who face deportation on criminal grounds are black, and black people are ultimately deported at a higher rate. Shamira Ibrahim, Daily Intelligencer, "Patricia Okoumou and the Threat to Black Immigrants," 13 July 2018 This month, more than 100 kids are attending three summer camps on the grounds. Anya Van Wagtendonk,, "To save the world, first they must save a building in West Philly," 12 July 2018 But Leibensperger later granted Stallings’ motion for a new trial, on the grounds that his lawyer provided ineffective assistance by failing to seek a self-defense instruction for the jury, records show. Travis Andersen,, "Appeals Court reinstates conviction of gang member in asthma manslaughter case," 11 July 2018 That hostile takeover bid was blocked in March by the U.S government on national-security grounds. Fortune, "Broadcom to Buy CA Technologies for $19 Billion," 11 July 2018 In a unanimous ruling announced in May, the Nevada Supreme Court decided not on procedural grounds—not pharmacological ones—to reverse the lower court's decision. Robbie Gonzalez, WIRED, "The Untested Drugs at the Heart of Nevada's Execution Controversy," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The top five active managers (through Thursday): Manager, Games Mike Scioscia, 3,010 Buck Showalter, 3,001 Terry Francona, 2,844 Fact check Blue Jays infielder Yangervis Solarte had grounded into 18 double plays entering the weekend. Paul Sullivan,, "Clubhouse policeman Bud Norris creating latest controversy in St. Louis," 14 July 2018 The Marlins loaded the bases in the fourth and came up empty when Cameron Maybin grounded into a double play. Andre C. Fernandez, miamiherald, "Miami Marlins suffer different kind of pain two days in a row in losses to Nationals," 6 July 2018 White and Stassi walked with one out, but Marisnick grounded into a double play to end the inning. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Yuli Gurriel's walkoff single sends Astros past White Sox," 5 July 2018 The Tigers took a 2-1 lead in the sixth when John Hicks grounded into a force at short, allowing Nicholas Castellanos to score from third. George Sipple, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers top Blue Jays, 3-2, in 10 inn.; Blaine Hardy earns save," 2 July 2018 Pinch-hitter Addison Russell grounded into a fielder’s choice, Hernandez making a difficult catch on an in-between hop before flipping to second. Mike Digiovanna,, "Kenta Maeda dominates the Cubs over seven innings in 2-1 win," 26 June 2018 Gardner was peeved after grounding into a game-ending double play that prevented Aaron Judge from coming to the plate and that sealed a 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. New York Times, "Good News: Gardner Returns. Bad News: Yankees Still Fall to Rays.," 22 June 2018 But that’s where the rally stopped: Salvador Perez grounded into a double play, his team-leading 11th of the season and the Royals’ majors-leading 68th of the year. Maria Torres, kansascity, "Jakob Junis allows three homers for second start in a row as Royals lose to Astros," 15 June 2018 Cole Johnson grounded into a fielder’s choice that allowed Bell to cross the plate. Brian Gosset, star-telegram, "Warden, Southlake Carroll dominate to win 6A state title," 9 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ground.' 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 ground


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


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for ground


Middle English, from Old English grund; akin to Old High German grunt ground


see ground entry 1

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Statistics for ground

Last Updated

23 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ground

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

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More Definitions for ground



English Language Learners Definition of ground

 (Entry 1 of 2)

the ground : the surface of the earth

: the soil that is on or under the surface of the earth

: an area of land



English Language Learners Definition of ground (Entry 2 of 2)

: to provide a basis or reason for (something)

: to cause a ship or boat to hit the ground below the water so that it cannot move

: to prevent (an aircraft or a pilot) from flying


\ ˈgrau̇nd \

Kids Definition of ground

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the surface of the earth Leaves fell to the ground.

2 : soil entry 2 sense 1, earth The beans themselves popped out of the ground. —Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie

3 : the bottom of a body of water The boat struck ground.

4 : an area of land sacred ground

5 : an area used for some purpose a hunting ground

6 grounds plural : the land around and belonging to a building the school grounds

8 : a reason for a belief, action, or argument What is the ground for your complaint?

9 : an area of knowledge We covered a lot of ground in class.

10 : a level of achievement or success The company is losing ground.

11 grounds plural : material in a liquid that settles to the bottom coffee grounds


grounded; grounding

Kids Definition of ground (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : to provide a reason for The practices are grounded in tradition.

2 : to instruct in basic knowledge or understanding The students are well grounded in math.

3 : to run or cause to run aground ground a ship

4 : to connect electrically with the ground

5 : to prevent (a plane or pilot) from flying

6 : to prohibit from taking part in certain activities as punishment My parents grounded me for a week.


Kids Definition of ground (Entry 3 of 3)

past tense and past participle of grind


Medical Definition of ground 

past and past part of grind

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Legal Definition of ground 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the foundation or basis on which knowledge, belief, or conviction rests : a premise, reason, or collection of data upon which something (as a legal action or argument) relies for validity sued the city on the ground that the city…had wrongfully released…recordsCity of Lawton v. Moore, 868 P.2d 690 (1993) listed adultery and alcoholism as the grounds for divorce

2 : a piece or parcel of land the design being to create high ground for use during overflow periodsBright v. Perkins, 239 S.W.2d 281 (1951) a sudden disruption of a piece of ground from one man's landPorter v. Arkansas Western Gas Co., 482 S.W.2d 598 (1972)

Other words from ground

groundless adjective
groundlessly adverb
groundlessness noun

Legal Definition of ground (Entry 2 of 2)

: to furnish a ground for : set on a basis that court grounded the disclosure requirement in negligence lawScott v. Bradford, 606 P.2d 554 (1979) an argument grounded on falsehoods

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Comments on ground

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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