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

The Huskies gained 172 of their 327 yards on the ground. Scott Hanson, The Seattle Times, "Pac-12 championship the next step in UW’s short — but intense — rivalry with Utah," 28 Nov. 2018 Keeping a car on the ground at such high speed is quite a challenge. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Bloodhound SSC: How do you build a car capable of 1,000mph?," 24 Nov. 2018 Yorgos wanted the women to be able to roll around on the ground in their corsets and if the clothes got dirty, to leave them dirty. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Though They Look Regal, Sandy Powell’s Costumes for The Favourite Are Grounded in Reality," 20 Nov. 2018 Maybe that’s because of the ugly sweater scenes and all the snow on the ground in the outside shots. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "What to Watch on Netflix During Thanksgiving," 20 Nov. 2018 Instead, the sick lie on the ground outside, writhing and crying in pain. Mallory Locklear, Discover Magazine, "With Big Data and Predictive Analytics, Scientists Are Getting Smarter About Outbreaks," 8 Nov. 2018 The gyro was still giving jumbled data back to the NASA team on the ground. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Fixed Hubble the Same Way You Fix Your Computer," 23 Oct. 2018 Videos posted online showed several men kicking a man who was on the ground. Fox News, "Calls for civility after vandalism, violent clashes outside GOP headquarters in New York," 13 Oct. 2018 She and former Senior Director of Garden Development Mark Bullitt would pour hours into ideating the perfect Village landscape a whole six months before her team could get their boots on the ground in the Arboretum's Pecan Grove. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "The Dallas Arboretum Uses 100,000 Pumpkins to Build Its Annual Fall Village," 12 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Profar later faced the exact same situation, only to ground into an inning-ending double play. Peter Dawson, star-telegram, "Rangers Reaction: Loss to Royals filled with missed opportunities | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 27 May 2018 Rain is returning to the Seattle area just in time for one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, after a thick blanket of fog grounded flights at Sea-Tac Airport on Tuesday morning. Agueda Pacheco-flores, The Seattle Times, "Rainy Thanksgiving awaits Seattle area after dense fog snarled Sea-Tac Airport traffic," 20 Nov. 2018 Talking to my dad [designer Nigel Curtiss] every day also keeps me grounded. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Behati Prinsloo, Kendall Jenner, and More Victoria’s Secret Angels on What Makes Them Feel Confident," 9 Nov. 2018 The class spent longer than the normal year at the base because U.S. Navy training jets were grounded for a time during 2017. Fox News, "Vice president's son completes Navy training in Mississippi," 28 Sep. 2018 Sam Hennigan grounded to third for an RBI infield single, and Kavanagh tied the game with a single to left. James Weber,, "Highlands baseball falls short in state final to St. Xavier," 16 June 2018 So my explanation was not grounded in anything other than me trying to excuse my poor showing. Danielle Sepulveres, SELF, "My Exercise-Induced Acid Reflux Almost Made Me Stop Running," 7 Nov. 2018 The rest of the Qantas A380 fleet was grounded, and several other airlines temporarily followed suit, while attention was focused on the jet’s Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines. Barbara Peterson, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Often Do New Airplanes Have Problems?," 2 Nov. 2018 How long will Russia's investigation take? How long will the Soyuz be grounded? Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Turbulent pricing era ahead, SLS concerns, SpaceX plays catch," 12 Oct. 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

2 Dec 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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More from Merriam-Webster on ground

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ground

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ground

Spanish Central: Translation of ground

Nglish: Translation of ground for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ground for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ground

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).


to enclose within walls

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