Definition of grovel
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 kingb : 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
grovelerplay \ˈgrä-vəl-ər, ˈgrə-\ noun
grovelinglyplay \ˈgrä-vəl-iŋ-lē, ˈgrə-\ adverb
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 of grovel from the Web
But then, to render Americans speechless is not the same as rendering them helpless, or hopeless, or silent, or grovelling.
Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton, alias Henny Penny, has been an attention-groveling politician for years.
Stewart instead paid a couple of visits to Storrs, Conn., from which Auriemma does not have to explain or much sell his program and certainly does not have to grovel to anyone.
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.
Origin and Etymology of grovel
back-formation from groveling prone, from groveling, adverb, from Middle English, from gruf, adverb, on the face (from Old Norse ā grūfu) + -ling
First Known Use: 1552See Words from the same year
GROVEL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of grovel for English Language Learners
: to kneel, lie, or crawl on the ground
: to treat someone with too much respect or fear in a way that shows weakness in order to be forgiven or to gain approval or favor
GROVEL Defined for Kids
Definition of grovel for Students
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.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up grovel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).