[ ground ]
See synonyms for: groundgroundedgroundinggrounds on

  1. the solid surface of the earth; firm or dry land: He fell to the ground with a loud thud.

  2. earth or soil: The stony ground is bad for growing wheat.

  1. land having an indicated character: The church stands on rising ground overlooking the town.

  2. Often grounds . a tract of land appropriated to a special use (often used in combination): Please keep the picnic grounds clean using the trash cans provided.The park was originally a hunting ground for the royal family.

  3. Often grounds . the foundation or basis on which a belief or action rests; reason or cause: Harassment is grounds for dismissal.

  4. subject for discussion; topic: Sex education is forbidden ground in some school curricula.

  5. rational or factual support for one's position or attitude, as in a debate or argument: The study's theoretical underpinnings are on firm ground.I had little medical knowledge of my own, so I was on shaky ground trying to figure out the problem.

  6. the main surface or background in painting, decorative work, lace, etc.

  7. Fine Arts.

    • a coating of some substance serving as a surface for paint, ink, or other media in art: Lead white is a traditional ground for oil paintings.

  8. the perceived background in a visual field, contrasted with the figure.

  9. grounds,

    • coffee beans or the like that have been ground and used for brewing: He cleared the coffee grounds out of the bottom of the pot and started a new batch brewing.

    • dregs or sediment.

  10. grounds, the gardens, lawn, etc., surrounding and belonging to a building.

  11. Electricity. a conducting connection between an electric circuit or equipment and the earth or some other conducting body.

  12. Music. ground bass.

  13. Nautical. the bottom of a body of water.

  14. the earth's solid or liquid surface; land or water: Our website can only compute the cost of shipping by ground, not by air.

  15. Also called etching ground. an acid-resistant substance, composed of wax, gum, and resin in varying proportions, applied to the entire surface of an etching plate and through which the design is drawn with an etching needle.

  16. Carpentry.

    • a strip of wood to which woodwork can be attached, set flush with the plaster finish of a room.

    • a strip of wood or length of corner bead used at an opening as a stop for plasterwork.

  1. situated on, at, or adjacent to the surface of the earth: a ground attack.

  2. relating to the ground.

  1. Military. operating on land: ground forces.

verb (used with object)
  1. to lay or set on the ground.

  2. to place on a foundation; fix firmly; settle or establish; found.

  1. to instruct in the basics or first principles: Before training them for medicine, you have to ground students in science.

  2. Electricity. to establish a ground for (a circuit, device, etc.).

  3. Nautical. to cause (a vessel) to run aground.

  4. Aeronautics. to restrict (an aircraft or the like) to the ground because of bad weather, the unsatisfactory condition of the aircraft, etc.

  5. to forbid (a pilot) to fly because of bad health, failure to comply with safety regulations, or the like.

  6. Informal. to put out of action or make unable to participate: The quarterback was grounded by a knee injury.

  7. Informal. to restrict the activities, especially the social activities, of: I can't go to the party—my parents have grounded me until my grades improve.

  8. to furnish with a ground or background, as on decorative work.

  9. to cover (wallpaper) with colors or other materials before printing.

verb (used without object)
  1. to come to or strike the ground.

  2. Baseball.

Verb Phrases
  1. ground out, Baseball. to be put out at first base after hitting a ground ball to the infield.

Idioms about ground

  1. break ground,

    • to plow.

    • to begin excavation for a construction project.

    • to begin or take preparatory measures for any undertaking.

  2. boots on the ground. boot1 (def. 28).

  1. cover ground,

    • to pass or travel over a certain area.

    • to make a certain amount of progress in dealing with a piece of work, subject, treatise, or the like: He talked for two hours without covering much ground.

  2. cut the ground from under, to render (an argument, position, person, etc.) ineffective or invalid; refute: It didn't require much effort to cut the ground from under that case.

  3. from the ground up,

    • gradually from the most elementary level to the highest level: She learned the business from the ground up.

    • extensively; thoroughly: The professor knew his subject from the ground up.

  4. gain ground,

    • to make progress; advance: As consumer demand for SUVs gained ground, so did the company's popularity.

    • to gain approval or acceptance: The case for renewable energy is gaining ground throughout the country.

  5. give ground, to yield to force or forceful argument; retreat: The disarmament talks reached an impasse when neither side would give ground on inspection proposals.

  6. hold / stand one's ground, to maintain one's position; be steadfast: The referee stood his ground, though his decision was hotly contested by the crowd.

  7. into the ground, beyond a reasonable or necessary point: You've stated your case, and you needn't run it into the ground.

  8. lose ground,

    • to retreat or be forced back.

    • to lose one's advantage; suffer a reverse.

    • to wane in popularity or acceptance; begin to fail: Our candidate is losing ground in industrial areas.

  9. off the ground, Informal. into action or well under way: The play never got off the ground.

  10. on one's own ground, in an area or situation that one knows well.

  11. on the ground,

    • at the place of action, interest, or importance: Minutes after the bank robbery, reporters were on the ground to get the story.

    • in reality; in real life: The facts on the ground are different from the rosy picture in official narratives.

  12. shift ground, to change position in an argument or situation.

  13. suit down to the ground, to be perfectly satisfactory; please greatly: This climate suits me down to the ground.

  14. take the ground, Nautical. to become grounded at low water.

  15. to ground,

    • into a den, burrow, shelter, or the like: a fox gone to ground.

    • into concealment or hiding: Rather than take the witness stand, she went to ground in another country.

Origin of ground

First recorded before 900; (for the noun) Middle English ground, grund, grond “bottom, base, foot (of a ladder),” Old English grund “bottom, deep place, abyss”; cognate with Dutch grond, German Grund; verb derivative of the noun

Other words from ground

  • ground·a·ble, adjective
  • ground·a·bly, adverb
  • ground·ed·ly, adverb
  • ground·ed·ness, noun
  • ground·ward, ground·wards, adverb, adjective
  • un·ground·a·ble, adjective

Words Nearby ground

Other definitions for ground (2 of 2)

[ ground ]

  1. a simple past tense and past participle of grind.

  1. reduced to fine particles or dust by grinding.

  2. (of meat, vegetables, etc.) reduced to very small pieces by putting through a food processor or grinder: ground beef.

  1. having the surface abraded or roughened by or as if by grinding, as in order to reduce its transparency: ground glass.

Origin of ground

First recorded in 1755–65 for def. 2; see ground1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use ground in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for ground (1 of 2)


/ (ɡraʊnd) /

  1. the land surface

  2. earth or soil: he dug into the ground outside his house

  1. (plural) the land around a dwelling house or other building

  2. (sometimes plural) an area of land given over to a purpose: football ground; burial grounds

  3. land having a particular characteristic: level ground; high ground

  4. matter for consideration or debate; field of research or inquiry: the lecture was familiar ground to him; the report covered a lot of ground

  5. a position or viewpoint, as in an argument or controversy (esp in the phrases give ground, hold, stand, or shift one's ground)

  6. position or advantage, as in a subject or competition (esp in the phrases gain ground, lose ground, etc)

  7. (often plural) reason; justification: grounds for complaint

  8. arts

    • the prepared surface applied to the support of a painting, such as a wall, canvas, etc, to prevent it reacting with or absorbing the paint

    • the support of a painting

    • the background of a painting or main surface against which the other parts of a work of art appear superimposed

    • the first coat of paint applied to a surface

    • (as modifier): ground colour

  9. the bottom of a river or the sea

  10. (plural) sediment or dregs, esp from coffee

  11. mainly British the floor of a room

  12. cricket

    • the area from the popping crease back past the stumps, in which a batsman may legally stand

    • ground staff

  13. a mesh or network supporting the main pattern of a piece of lace

  14. electrical, US and Canadian

    • a connection between an electrical circuit or device and the earth, which is at zero potential

    • Also called: earth a terminal to which this connection is made

  15. above ground alive

  16. below ground dead and buried

  17. break new ground to do something that has not been done before

  18. cut the ground from under someone's feet to anticipate someone's action or argument and thus make it irrelevant or meaningless

  19. to the ground or down to the ground British informal completely; absolutely: it suited him down to the ground

  20. get off the ground informal to make a beginning, esp one that is successful

  21. go to ground to go into hiding

  22. into the ground beyond what is requisite or can be endured; to exhaustion

  23. meet someone on his own ground to meet someone according to terms he has laid down himself

  24. the high ground or the moral high ground a position of moral or ethical superiority in a dispute

  25. touch ground

    • (of a ship) to strike the sea bed

    • to arrive at something solid or stable after discussing or dealing with topics that are abstract or inconclusive

  26. (modifier) situated on, living on, or used on the ground: ground frost; ground forces

  27. (modifier) concerned with or operating on the ground, esp as distinct from in the air: ground crew; ground hostess

  28. (modifier) (used in names of plants) low-growing and often trailing or spreading

  1. (tr) to put or place on the ground

  2. (tr) to instruct in fundamentals

  1. (tr) to provide a basis or foundation for; establish

  2. (tr) to confine (an aircraft, pilot, etc) to the ground

  3. (tr) informal to confine (a child) to the house as a punishment

  4. the usual US word for earth (def. 16)

  5. (tr) nautical to run (a vessel) aground

  6. (tr) to cover (a surface) with a preparatory coat of paint

  7. (intr) to hit or reach the ground

Origin of ground

Old English grund; related to Old Norse grunn shallow, grunnr, grund plain, Old High German grunt

British Dictionary definitions for ground (2 of 2)


/ (ɡraʊnd) /

  1. the past tense and past participle of grind

  1. having the surface finished, thickness reduced, or an edge sharpened by grinding

  2. reduced to fine particles by grinding

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

Scientific definitions for ground


[ ground ]

  1. A connection between an electrical conductor and the Earth. Grounds are used to establish a common zero-voltage reference for electric devices in order to prevent potentially dangerous voltages from arising between them and other objects. Also called earth

  2. The set of shared points in an electrical circuit at which the measured voltage is taken to be zero. The ground is usually connected directly to the power supply and acts as a common “sink” for current flowing through the components in the circuit.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with ground


In addition to the idioms beginning with ground

  • ground floor, get in on the
  • ground rules

also see:

  • both feet on the ground
  • break ground
  • common ground
  • cover ground
  • cover the field (ground)
  • cut the ground from under
  • down to the ground
  • ear to the ground
  • from the ground up
  • gain ground
  • get off the ground
  • give ground
  • happy hunting ground
  • hit the ground running
  • lose ground
  • on one's home ground
  • run into the ground
  • run to earth (ground)
  • stamping ground
  • stand one's ground
  • worship the ground someone walks on

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.