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 Recent polls show an extremely close race between Messrs. Trump and Biden in Florida, with the president losing support among older voters compared with 2016 and the former vice president trying to make up ground with Latinos. Madeleine Ngo, WSJ, "Trump Seeks to Boost Voter Turnout in Florida Panhandle," 19 Oct. 2020 Earning the starting nod against Army, Narcisse completed 16 of 31 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown while picking up 47 yards on the ground. Greg Luca,, "Lowell Narcisse to miss rest of season as UTSA quarterback shuffle continues," 19 Oct. 2020 Suppression operations continued throughout the day, with the use of aircrafts and firefighters on the ground, Utah Fire said. Hollie Silverman, CNN, "At least 26 homes destroyed in Colorado's CalWood Fire as historic wildfire season continues," 19 Oct. 2020 Deutsche Telekom has successfully tested a stratospheric base station for providing connectivity in hard-to-reach places back on the ground. David Meyer, Fortune, "President Trump has failed the test of modern leadership," 19 Oct. 2020 After racking up 212 rushing yards Sunday, Titans RB Derrick Henry became the first man in NFL annals to post a 200-yard effort on the ground in three successive seasons. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "32 things we learned from Week 6 of the 2020 NFL season," 19 Oct. 2020 Xavier Smallwood rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns, while Jacob Brown and Sam Haines scored on the ground Ashton Ojiaku returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "Travis, Foster among big winners in Fort Bend," 19 Oct. 2020 The snow began to melt Sunday and was not anticipated to stay on the ground long. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage sees first snowfall of the season, but winter weather is not expected to last long," 19 Oct. 2020 Quarterback D’Eriq King leaned in to fake the run, draw Pitt defenders in, given his threat on the ground, and hit his target for a touchdown over the top with no one around him. David Furones,, "Ten things we learned in Miami Hurricanes’ 31-19 win over Pitt," 18 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Choose sturdy mums in a range of hues to ground your scheme, and add in a few evergreen bushes to keep some color through the winter. Jessica Dailey, Good Housekeeping, "8 Exterior Additions That Will Up Your Home’s Curb Appeal," 19 Oct. 2020 Over the past generation and more, our educators have abdicated their responsibility to ground their students in the fundamentals of the American experience. James L. Buckley, National Review, "Congress v. the Constitution," 17 Oct. 2020 On the strength of 308 rushing yards, Vestavia Hills ground out a 32-7 victory over Spain Park in Class 7A, Region 3 play. Staff, al, "Birmingham roundup: Vestavia Hills runs past Spain Park 32-7," 17 Oct. 2020 Grand Prairie will ground-spray two areas of the city after West Nile Virus-positive mosquito samples were found. Anna Caplan, Dallas News, "Grand Prairie will spray for mosquitoes for a second night," 15 Oct. 2020 At his One Trick Pony, 21-day aged beef will be ground to order, while buns will be made in house. Cheryl V. Jackson, The Indianapolis Star, "Neal Brown is bringing his smash burgers to Fishers Test Kitchen for a few months," 14 Oct. 2020 Semolina–coarsely ground durum wheat–gives Gemma Sciabica’s gnocchi a chewy texture. Ben Fogel, Sunset Magazine, "19 of Our Favorite Pasta Recipes," 13 Oct. 2020 Add some brown mustard seeds, whole cumin seeds and ground turmeric and cook for 30 seconds, then add in some cauliflower florets and a splash of water. Jessica Battilana,, "13 ideas for farmers’ market produce during summer-to-fall shoulder season," 9 Oct. 2020 But Pittman’s Razorbacks put in place a game plan to ground Mike Leach’s Air Raid, while Gators transfer quarterback Feleipe Franks led an efficient offensive effort during a 21-14 upset to snap a 20-game losing streak in the SEC for Arkansas. Edgar Thompson,, "Tough SEC schedules gives teams no breathing room," 8 Oct. 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

22 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ground.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2020.

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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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