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

cower, cringe, quail

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

Then-Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh was literally prowling the halls—really, every college coach in the country was prepared to grovel for Luck’s services. Conor Orr, SI.com, "Everything Andrew Luck Was, Is and Will Be," 3 Sep. 2019 But luxury brands—whose largest single market is often China—offered grovelling apologies. The Economist, "China’s thin-skinned online nationalists want to be both loved and feared by the West," 22 Aug. 2019 The season kicks off with Kendall forced to grovel to his father after his accident and failed coup while sister Shiv positions herself for a promotion. Seth Abramovitch, The Hollywood Reporter, "Media, Money and Murdochs: How 'Succession' Became the Perfect Show for the Trump Era," 31 July 2019 Black people are only fit to live underground like groveling goblins. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Twitter apologizes after conservative commentator Candace Owens was briefly locked out of her account," 6 Aug. 2018 And after all of this, Emily Gilmore is still groveling for time with her. Diana Bruk, Country Living, "Lorelai Gilmore Is Seriously The Worst," 5 Dec. 2016 Hardly a surprise we are treated like Panama or El Salvador when government grovels for favours. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Admitting He Feels ‘Unwelcome,’ Trump Finds New Ways to Offend the British," 13 July 2018 The site was unblocked only after the company’s chief executive issued a grovelling public apology. The Economist, "A deadline looms in China’s battle with foreign firms over Taiwan," 5 July 2018 Trump’s behavior in office has borne out all these assessments, yet their authors now grovel before him. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "The GOP Is Trump’s Personality Cult. Could Democrats Do the Same?," 27 June 2018

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

Dictionary Entries near grovel

grove

Grove

Grove City

grovel

groveless

Groves

groves of academe

Statistics for grovel

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for grovel

The first known use of grovel was in 1552

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for grovel

grovel

verb

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

More from Merriam-Webster on grovel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grovel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grovel

Spanish Central: Translation of grovel

Nglish: Translation of grovel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grovel for Arabic Speakers

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

friendly or mild

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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!