- to humble oneself or act in an abject manner, as in great fear or utter servility.
- to lie or crawl with the face downward and the body prostrate, especially in abject humility, fear, etc.
- to take pleasure in mean or base things.
Origin of grovel
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for grovel
Would-be partners had to grovel for deals and were only accepted on onerous terms, they said.Is Google the Next AOL?
April 14, 2009
Ali says she was like a wild beast, but he twisted her wrist and made her grovel in the dust.An Outcast of the Islands
The women shriek and swoon, grovel on the ground, and tear their hair.The Pearl of the Antilles, or An Artist in Cuba
But don't let him have her, don't let him be happy with her, while I grovel here in shame!In a Little Town
My clients came to me, singly and in pairs, to grovel and to implore.The Plum Tree
David Graham Phillips
Do you think that I have followed you here to grovel at your feet for mere whim?Tommy and Co.
Jerome K. Jerome
- to humble or abase oneself, as in making apologies or showing respect
- to lie or crawl face downwards, as in fear or humility
- (often foll by in) to indulge or take pleasure (in sensuality or vice)
Word Origin and History for grovel
1590s, Shakespearian back-formation of groveling (Middle English), regarded as a present participle but really an adverb, from Old Norse grufe "prone" + obsolete adverbial suffix -ling (which survives also as the -long in headlong, sidelong); first element from Old Norse a grufu "on proneness." Perhaps related to creep. Related: Groveled; grovelled; groveling; grovelling.