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

Troy's ex-city manager, Brian Kischnick, was fired March 11 by the Troy City Council after Kischnick was charged with domestic violence for repeatedly shoving to the ground his secretary after the two had been out drinking. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Ex-Troy city employee lawsuit for wrongful discharge," 14 July 2018 But as the two continued to fight, the 13-year NFL veteran rushed Ragin and delivered a powerful blow that knocked the airport employee to the ground, ending the fight after bystanders separated the men., "NFL Star Pacman Jones Knocks Down Airport Worker Who Attacked Him on Video," 12 July 2018 Privacy - Terms The girl’s mother, who police later identified as Jones, shoved him to the ground and beat him with a concrete brick, officers said. Don Sweeney, sacbee, "Woman arrested in brutal July 4 brick attack on 91-year-old man, L.A. police say," 11 July 2018 But moments later, the man spins, winds up his right arm like a sinker-ball pitcher and viciously strikes the skateboarder in the face before wrestling him to the ground. Alex Riggins,, "Police seek help to ID suspects in violent robbery on Barrio Logan trolley platform," 11 July 2018 Additionally, this theory applies only to flat, horizontal surfaces parallel to the ground. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Settling a Heated Debate—Do Zebra Stripes Keep These Animals Cool?," 10 July 2018 Elizabeth Flores told the El Paso Times the video started after the officer choked one of her sons and forced him to the ground. Ryan Tarinelli, The Seattle Times, "Mom says Texas officer choked boy before aiming gun at kids," 9 July 2018 Isaacson then jumped onto the tarmac and was wrestled to the ground by the officer. Author: Isabelle Ross, Anchorage Daily News, "Togiak man arrested after trying to climb into airplane cargo hold in Dillingham," 9 July 2018 But tracking this space rock to the ground sparked weeks-long global hunt that led to a remote part of Africa, and served as a dry run for the day when a dangerous asteroid might be headed this way. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "For Just 2nd Time Ever, Meteor Hunters Recover Chunks of Rock They Tracked From Space," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

On this night, Shreve came through, striking out Ender Inciarte and getting Ozzie Albies to ground out, preserving the slim lead. Wallace Matthews, New York Times, "Yankees Display Their Flaws, but Still Beat the Braves," 3 July 2018 Jeimer Candelario flied out to center, Victor Martinez grounded out to the pitcher and Goodrum lined out to right. George Sipple, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers tried everything, but still lost as losing skid extends," 30 June 2018 But Jesse Winker popped out, and Jose Peraza grounded out to leave the runners on. John Fay,, "Cincinnati Reds streak ends in a walk-off in Atlanta," 26 June 2018 The streak was snapped when Rebels pitcher Kathryn Wilmot grounded out to third to end the fourth inning. Dan Shulman,, "Kelly Nelson turns in another dominant performance as Norton blanks Walpole in softball," 31 May 2018 In the sixth, the Tigers loaded the bases with one out but Mikie Mahtook popped out and Victor Martinez grounded softly to second base. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers takeaways from 3-0 loss to Astros: Mike Fiers solid," 13 July 2018 Wil Myers walked with two outs in the 14th and stole second base before Eric Hosmer grounded out. Kevin Acee,, "Wil Myers' homer matters this time, Padres down Diamondbacks in 16," 8 July 2018 This new series manages to keep the silly charm of Lupin, while also still grounding things fairly realistically like a modern mystery show. Michael Moore, The Verge, "Eight new anime shows to check out this summer," 29 June 2018 But Brad Ziegler struck out Jesus Aguilar and, after issuing an intentional walk to load the bases, got Brad Miller to ground into an inning-ending double play. Clark Spencer, miamiherald, "Holaday delivers the big hit as Marlins defeat Brewers in 10 innings," 9 July 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

21 Oct 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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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