grov·​el | \ ˈgrä-vᵊl How to pronounce grovel (audio) , ˈgrə- How to pronounce grovel (audio) \
groveled or grovelled; groveling or grovelling

Definition of grovel

intransitive verb

1 : to creep with the face to the ground : crawl
2a : to lie or creep with the body prostrate in token of subservience or abasement groveled at the feet of the king
b : to abase oneself would not grovel for political advantage
3 : to give oneself over to what is base or unworthy : wallow groveling in self-pity

Other Words from grovel

groveler \ ˈgrä-​vᵊl-​ər How to pronounce grovel (audio) , ˈgrə-​ \ noun
grovelingly \ ˈgrä-​vᵊl-​iŋ-​lē How to pronounce grovel (audio) , ˈgrə-​ \ adverb

Synonyms for grovel


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Examples of grovel in a Sentence

The peasants groveled before the king. He had to grovel to get her to accept his apology. He made a groveling apology to his girlfriend.
Recent Examples on the Web Thank goodness we were spared a runoff pitting two Trump grovelers trying to out-grovel each other. Erika D. Smith, Los Angeles Times, 16 June 2022 Before the month was over McCarthy visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago to grovel for forgiveness. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 22 Apr. 2022 And for some teams expected to contend, perhaps there’s no need to grovel for their fans’ attention. Paul Sullivan,, 31 Mar. 2022 DeSantis has not been as willing to grovel at the prospect of a 2024 Trump candidacy as some other ambitious Republicans have. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 16 Mar. 2022 Soon McCarthy was on a flight to Palm Beach, Fla., to grovel and beg forgiveness. Los Angeles Times, 7 Jan. 2022 Even Trump had to grovel a bit in 2016 after the Access Hollywood tape came out. Joel Mathis, The Week, 27 Oct. 2021 Some African feminists argue that to wear a long, straight-haired wig or hair extension is to grovel to Western ideals of beauty. The Economist, 15 Aug. 2020 Ask, grovel, inquire, whatever. Do it now before those credits start to expire. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 30 Mar. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grovel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of grovel

1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for grovel

back-formation from groveling prone, from groveling, adverb, from Middle English, from gruf, adverb, on the face (from Old Norse ā grūfu) + -ling

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Dictionary Entries Near grovel

Grove City



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Cite this Entry

“Grovel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for grovel


grov·​el | \ ˈgrä-vᵊl How to pronounce grovel (audio) , ˈgrə- \
groveled or grovelled; groveling or grovelling

Kids Definition of grovel

1 : to kneel, lie, or crawl on the ground (as in fear)
2 : to act toward someone in a weak or humble way He groveled before the king.

More from Merriam-Webster on grovel

Nglish: Translation of grovel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grovel for Arabic Speakers


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