grovel

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from grovel

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

Synonyms for grovel

Synonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web 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, "Thatcherism Nigeria’s demand for fancy wigs fuels a global trade," 15 Aug. 2020 Ask, grovel, inquire, whatever. Do it now before those credits start to expire. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax: A grad school dropout wants to make a course correction," 30 Mar. 2020 Christie Gunter, owner of China Baroque jewelry and accessories, has never groveled for business. Joy Sewing, Houston Chronicle, "Rodeo vendors urge shoppers to buy online," 13 Mar. 2020 Jim Jordan called me crying, groveling, begging me to go against my brother, begging me, crying for a half-hour. Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY, "Ex-OSU wrestler: Rep. Jordan called ‘crying, groveling, begging’ to deny sexual abuse claims," 12 Feb. 2020 Add it all up and Iowa's days as a trendsetting state where dozens of would-be presidents must grovel before the gods of ethanol and direct democracy are probably over. David Faris, TheWeek, "2 winners and 3 losers from Iowa," 7 Feb. 2020 Actress Fan Bingbing only re-emerged from months of house arrest after making a groveling public apology. Yaqiu Wang, Twin Cities, "Yaqiu Wang: China’s Communist Party is as shadowy and repressive as when it took power 70 years ago," 3 Oct. 2019 So, Jenny and Ken are boneheads and still think Fox is Jamie Foxx, because clearly in their world an Oscar-winning zillionaire needs to grovel for minor coins on this trash. Robbie Daw, Billboard, "'The Masked Singer' Finale Recap: Who's Winning This Thing Anyway?," 19 Dec. 2019 Ms Cartier Brickell is alert to their diverse connotations, from love letter to grovelling apology to glaring status symbol. The Economist, "The glittering rise of the Cartiers," 14 Nov. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about grovel

Time Traveler for grovel

Time Traveler

The first known use of grovel was in 1552

See more words from the same year

Statistics for grovel

Cite this Entry

“Grovel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/grovel. Accessed 1 Dec. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for grovel

grovel

verb
How to pronounce grovel (audio) How to pronounce grovel (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of grovel

: 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

verb
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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on grovel

What made you want to look up grovel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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