- 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 groveling
Whatever happened to the groveling apology and the second chance . . . the kind of forgiving spirit that made America great?North Dakota Television Station Fires Brand-New Anchor Over Accidental On-Air Profanity
April 22, 2013
A mortified Phillips, from Belfast, wrote a groveling apology in response.Royal Cover-Up as Prince of Wales Shoots Owl (In 1896)
February 27, 2013
A consummate Wall Street creature, the pathetic, groveling Paulson knew what would happen without a bailout.Will Stocks Dive Again?
May 11, 2010
The sort of groveling one imagines taking place is repulsive to consider.'Mom, Dad—I Need $96K'
July 10, 2009
He grabbed the groveling butcher and hoisted him from his wallow.Louisiana Lou
William West Winter
How groveling must be the ignorance which can be thus blinded!Aztec Land
Maturin M. Ballou
They had not the low and groveling spirit which usually incites mobs.
If in that moment she appeared a groveling thing, it was only for a moment.The Blue Wall
Richard Washburn Child
At every step she had to purchase silence by groveling humility.Germinie Lacerteux
Edmond and Jules de Goncourt
- 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 groveling
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.