verb (used without object), groped, grop·ing.
  1. to feel about with the hands; feel one's way: I had to grope around in the darkness before I found the light switch.
  2. to search blindly or uncertainly: He seemed to be groping for an answer to the question.
verb (used with object), groped, grop·ing.
  1. to seek by or as if by groping: to grope one's way up the dark stairs.
  2. to touch or handle (someone) for sexual pleasure.
  1. an act or instance of groping.
  2. Slang. an act or instance of sexually fondling another person.

Origin of grope

before 900; Middle English gropien, Old English grāpian, derivative of grāp grasp; akin to gripe, grasp

Synonyms for grope Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for groped

Contemporary Examples of groped

Historical Examples of groped

  • John groped vainly in mental depths for other experiences likely to illuminate this.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • Sam groped for Duncan's hand, caught and held it between both his own.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • Arthur groped his way up the stairs; they were dark too, coming in from the sunshine.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • With these words he groped his way to the door, carrying his chair with him.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • Is there a hotel in this”––he groped for a classification––“this city?

British Dictionary definitions for groped


  1. (intr usually foll by for) to feel or search about uncertainly (for something) with the hands
  2. (intr; usually foll by for or after) to search uncertainly or with difficulty (for a solution, answer, etc)
  3. (tr) to find or make (one's way) by groping
  4. (tr) slang to feel or fondle the body of (someone) for sexual gratification
  1. the act of groping
Derived Formsgropingly, adverb

Word Origin for grope

Old English grāpian; related to Old High German greifōn, Norwegian greipa; compare gripe
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for groped



Old English grapian "to feel about (as one blind or in darkness)," originally "lay hold of, seize, touch, attain," related to gripan "grasp at" (see gripe). Figurative sense is from early 14c. Indecent sense (marked as "obsolete" in OED) is from c.1200. Related: Groped; groping. The noun is Old English grap.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper