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 plural sufficient 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

Synonyms for ground

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hopp is then seen grabbing Garner by the arm and forcefully taking her to the ground, CBS Denver reported. CBS News, 6 May 2022 The man appeared to push the 48-year-old comedian, knocking him to the ground. Olivia Jakiel,, 5 May 2022 Hopp then roughly took Garner to the ground and placed her in handcuffs, the video showed. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, 5 May 2022 Chappelle, on Tuesday, was assaulted while performing a stand-up set for the Netflix Is a Joke Fest when a man rushed the stage and tackled him to the ground. Jackie Strause, The Hollywood Reporter, 5 May 2022 Is your goal to fit into a little black dress or simply to burn it all down to the ground? Kimberly Harrington, The New Yorker, 5 May 2022 If your desk has metallic legs, the MojoDesk Magnetic MagicSnap Cable Chain offers a clever way to route cables from the tabletop to the ground. Nina Molina, WSJ, 5 May 2022 The unidentified man then punches the older man in his face, knocking him to the ground. Fox News, 4 May 2022 Nearly three months after a 16-year-old girl was thrown to the ground in a violent arrest by Rialto police, her family has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit seeking $10 million in damages. Gregory Yeestaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But Bieber fanned Billy McKinney and got Seth Brown to ground out to first to escape damage. Joe Noga, cleveland, 30 Apr. 2022 After getting the final batter to ground out to third, his teammates flooded from the dugout and mobbed the New Jersey native on the mound. Tim Schwartz, Baltimore Sun, 29 Apr. 2022 But McCleve slithered out of the jam, getting Gavin Logan to ground into a 1-2-3 double play before working an inning-ending groundout from Greg Fuchs. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, 29 Apr. 2022 But Davies got Freeman to ground into a double play to end the inning. José M. Romero, The Arizona Republic, 26 Apr. 2022 But Bradley struck out Anthony Santander with an 85-mph changeup and got Ryan Mountcastle to ground into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play for the save. Mike Digiovanna, Los Angeles Times, 24 Apr. 2022 The lefty was efficient, getting a chopper from Anthony Rizzo for a force out at the plate, then got Giancarlo Stanton to ground out to first baseman Spencer Torkelson. Tony Garcia, Detroit Free Press, 21 Apr. 2022 But Troy closer Graham Stewart got Turner to ground out to first and end the game. Creg Stephenson |, al, 15 Apr. 2022 Goldschmidt then appeared to ground out but was awarded first on catcher's interference. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 14 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best coffee grinders.

Learn More About ground

Time Traveler for ground

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near ground




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for ground

Last Updated

8 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ground.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for ground


\ 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



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


transitive verb

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

More from Merriam-Webster on ground

Nglish: Translation of ground for Spanish Speakers

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!