noun, often attributive
\ ˈgrau̇nd How to pronounce ground (audio) \

Definition of ground

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : 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 of knowledge or special interest covered a lot of ground in his lecture
e : an area to be won or defended in or as if in battle
2a : soil, earth
b : a special soil
3a : the bottom of a body of water
b grounds plural
(1) : ground coffee beans after brewing
4a : a basis for belief, action, or argument ground for complaint often used in pluralsufficient grounds for divorce
b(1) : a fundamental logical condition
(2) : a basic metaphysical (see metaphysical sense 2) cause
5a : 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
6a : a surrounding area : background
b : material that serves as a substratum
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 4)

transitive verb

1a : 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
2a : to cause to run aground
b : to bring to or place on the ground
3a : to restrict to the ground ground a pilot
b : to prohibit from taking part in some usual activities grounded her for a week
4 : to connect electrically with a ground
5 : to throw (a football) intentionally to the ground to avoid being tackled for a loss

intransitive verb

1 : to run aground The ship grounded on a mud bank.
2 : to hit a grounder grounded back to the pitcher
3 : to have a ground or basis : rely



Definition of ground (Entry 3 of 4)

: reduced to small pieces or a powder by a grinding process ground beef ground coffee beans


Definition of ground (Entry 4 of 4)

past tense and past participle of grind

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Synonyms for ground

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of ground in a Sentence

Noun 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. Verb 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 Moving the command to Huntsville would require major construction projects to house it and building infrastructure, including satellite ground stations and other equipment. Tom Roeder, Washington Examiner, "Space Command heading to Alabama," 13 Jan. 2021 The Jamaican beef patties -- savory pastries filled with seasoned ground beef -- are especially popular. Bob Carlton |, al, "21 dishes to eat in Birmingham in 2021," 13 Jan. 2021 Merging that with ground combat would create the ultimate power in the gaming universe. Washington Post, "What we want from Ubisoft Massive’s open world Star Wars game," 13 Jan. 2021 Layer tasty homemade fillings, like ground beef and pickled jalapeños, into a bag of chips for the tastiest game day ever. Kate Merker, Good Housekeeping, "“Walking” Tacos," 12 Jan. 2021 In a study lab across town, paleobotanists and archaeozoologists analyzed fragments, and researchers painstakingly repaired a 10-foot-high wall fresco painted with pigment made from ground cinnabar. New York Times, "Caligula’s Garden of Delights, Unearthed and Restored," 12 Jan. 2021 American ground troops formally joined the war to defend the south in 1965. Long T. Bui, The Conversation, "Why the flag of South Vietnam flew at US Capitol siege," 12 Jan. 2021 The ground lease payments will help the authority recoup its money. Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News, "In partnership with city, Anchorage developer plans new downtown apartment complex near Park Strip," 9 Jan. 2021 Measuring 31-inches between the axles and sporting a brace height of 7 inches, the Embark is an ideal choice for treestand, ground blind, or spot-and-stalk sojourns. Jace Bauserman, Outdoor Life, "The Best New Compound Bows for 2021," 7 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Add the onion, ají panca chilli pepper, cumin,and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Beth Segal, cleveland, "Porotos Ganados, Moqueca Bahaina, Carapulcra and more: Stews full of comfort from South America," 14 Jan. 2021 On Sunday, 29-year-old Jessie Diggins ground her way through the last stretch of the climb and, exhausted, attempted to raise her hands overhead in triumph before flopping face-first into the snow. Ariella Gintzler, Outside Online, "Jessie Diggins Wins the Tour de France of Skiing," 13 Jan. 2021 China’s economy ground virtually to a halt in the first quarter of 2020, with the country’s gross domestic product contracting by 6.8% from a year earlier—the biggest such pullback in some four decades. Sha Hua, WSJ, "New Cases Challenge China’s Targeted Covid-19 Strategy," 29 Dec. 2020 The lab ground up the shellfish and mixed the tissue with solvents. Sara Harrison, Wired, "A Unique Alliance Could Help Warn Us of Toxic Algae," 23 Dec. 2020 Coarse granules can be ground or used on their own. Ana Sanchez,, "The best salt," 23 Dec. 2020 The Dolphins started possessions at their 2- and 10-yard lines, and each time ground out a drive of at least 90 yards. Steven Wine,, "Loss to Dolphins eliminates Patriots from playoff race," 20 Dec. 2020 The Bears ground out a pair of touchdown drives sandwiched around a punt forced by the defense, and the interception return to the end zone cemented what had become evident – that Catholic would make another trip to the state title game. Chris Dabe,, "Catholic-Baton Rouge ousts Brother Martin, advances to title game," 11 Dec. 2020 Britain has now ground to a halt just two days after it was revealed a variant of COVID-19 was spreading like wildfire. Imtiaz Tyab, CBS News, "At least 40 nations ban travel with Britain over new COVID-19 strain," 22 Dec. 2020

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 3a


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2b


1765, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ground

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for ground

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for ground

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ground.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for ground


How to pronounce ground (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ground

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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 How to pronounce ground (audio) \

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

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