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

Definition of ground

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : the bottom of a body of water

b grounds plural

(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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Synonyms for ground

Synonyms: Noun

demesne, park, premises (also premisses), yard

Synonyms: Verb

base, hang, predicate, rest

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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

Video footage from last Saturday showed police storming into train carriages and indiscriminately beating passengers, some whom were cowering on the ground crying. Amy Gunia / Hong Kong, Time, "Hong Kong Braces for Another Weekend of Protests Despite Extradition Bill Withdrawal," 6 Sep. 2019 Long contained, those agendas now risk unraveling the anti-Houthi alliance with bloody consequences on the ground. Washington Post, "Cracks in Saudi-UAE coalition risk new war in Yemen," 6 Sep. 2019 Only the Houston Texans (9.6 points saved per 100 rushing plays) were better at preventing points on the ground last season. Neil Greenberg, The Denver Post, "Fantasy football start/sit Week 1: Austin Ekeler up, Julio Jones down," 5 Sep. 2019 In the Raiders’ preseason opener, cornerback Nevin Lawson broke up a pass intended for Rams receiver Alex Bachman on a play that ended with both players on the ground. Matt Kawahara,, "NFL coaches, players brace for new pass interference rule," 5 Sep. 2019 And the melee here on the ground feeds the storm up in the sky, and dozens more on the horizon. Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: Why Trump’s hurricane map overshadowed CNN’s climate town hall," 5 Sep. 2019 Etienne only had 44 yards on the ground last season, and the Aggies allowed just eight rushing yards in its season opener. Joseph Goodman, al, "Auburn is in for a fight; Shocking upset on tap for a national contender," 5 Sep. 2019 Disorderly conduct, Lorain Road On Aug. 29 an intoxicated man was reported lying on the ground next to a bicycle., "Intoxicated woman found in apartment complex laundry room: Fairview Park Police Blotter," 5 Sep. 2019 The Bulldogs struggled to run the ball, finishing with 82 yards on the ground. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "Week 3 high school football predictions: A loaded slate headlined by Battle of Lawrence," 4 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Mechanics and the Max American blames work slowdowns by union mechanics and the Max grounding for much of the problems. Dallas News, "Canceled flights, wrecked vacations and leaky planes: Passenger frustrations rise as American Airlines struggles," 23 Aug. 2019 Despite her soaring celebrity and influence, Osaka tries to stay grounded. Victoria Albert, CBS News, "Naomi Osaka on why she's "nervous" to talk to Serena Williams," 23 Aug. 2019 The store also alleges that Tesla did not ground its solar or electrical systems properly, and the lawsuit also reports that the panels had defects visible to the naked eye. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Walmart Is Suing Tesla, Claiming Its Solar Panels Sparked Multiple Store Fires," 22 Aug. 2019 The jets, most of which date back to the 1980s, were in danger of being permanently grounded unless their aging wings were replaced. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The A-10 Warthog Lives To Fly Again," 22 Aug. 2019 After grounding to second in the first inning, Cruz tied the game, 3-3, with a solo homer in the fourth, doubled in two runs with a line drive off the right field wall in the fifth, doubled and doubled twice, and scored a run, in the eighth. John Shipley, Twin Cities, "Twins’ new ‘Bomba Counter’ gets a workout in 14-4 victory over White Sox," 20 Aug. 2019 For example, Southwest suspended service between Los Angeles and Pittsburgh after the Max was grounded. David Koenig,, "Airlines expect to set Labor Day records. If you hate crowded flights, one day looks especially bleak.," 20 Aug. 2019 Sneed struck out Marcus Semien but Grossman grounded a base hit up the middle. Steve Kroner,, "A’s top Astros on Robbie Grossman’s single in 13th," 17 Aug. 2019 Even with the darker tone and themes, a wonderful sense of absurdity and humor still grounds the whole series and keeps it from losing its relatability. Michael Moore, The Verge, "The Best Anime of 2019: an ongoing list," 16 Aug. 2019

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

Noun and Verb

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

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Statistics for ground

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

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 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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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).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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