View synonyms for ground



[ ground ]


  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.

  3. land having an indicated character:

    The church stands on rising ground overlooking the town.

  4. 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.

  5. Often grounds. the foundation or basis on which a belief or action rests; reason or cause:

    Harassment is grounds for dismissal.

  6. subject for discussion; topic:

    Sex education is forbidden ground in some school curricula.

  7. 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.

  8. the main surface or background in painting, decorative work, lace, etc.
  9. Fine Arts.
    1. 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.

  10. the perceived background in a visual field, contrasted with the figure.
  11. grounds,
    1. 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.

    2. dregs or sediment.
  12. grounds, the gardens, lawn, etc., surrounding and belonging to a building.
  13. Electricity. a conducting connection between an electric circuit or equipment and the earth or some other conducting body.
  14. Nautical. the bottom of a body of water.
  15. the earth's solid or liquid surface; land or water:

    Our website can only compute the cost of shipping by ground, not by air.

  16. 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.
  17. Carpentry.
    1. a strip of wood to which woodwork can be attached, set flush with the plaster finish of a room.
    2. 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.
  3. 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.
  3. to instruct in the basics or first principles:

    Before training them for medicine, you have to ground students in science.

  4. Electricity. to establish a ground for (a circuit, device, etc.).
  5. Nautical. to cause (a vessel) to run aground.
  6. Aeronautics. to restrict (an aircraft or the like) to the ground because of bad weather, the unsatisfactory condition of the aircraft, etc.
  7. to forbid (a pilot) to fly because of bad health, failure to comply with safety regulations, or the like.
  8. Informal. to put out of action or make unable to participate:

    The quarterback was grounded by a knee injury.

  9. 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.

  10. to furnish with a ground or background, as on decorative work.
  11. to cover (wallpaper) with colors or other materials before printing.

verb (used without object)

  1. to come to or strike the ground.
  2. Baseball.
    1. to hit a ground ball.
    2. to ground out.

verb phrase

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



[ 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.

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

    ground glass.



/ 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



/ ɡraʊnd /


  1. the land surface
  2. earth or soil

    he dug into the ground outside his house

  3. plural the land around a dwelling house or other building
  4. sometimes plural an area of land given over to a purpose

    burial grounds

    football ground

  5. land having a particular characteristic

    high ground

    level ground

  6. matter for consideration or debate; field of research or inquiry

    the lecture was familiar ground to him

    the report covered a lot of ground

  7. a position or viewpoint, as in an argument or controversy (esp in the phrases give ground, hold, stand, or shift one's ground )
  8. position or advantage, as in a subject or competition (esp in the phrases gain ground, lose ground, etc)
  9. often plural reason; justification

    grounds for complaint

  10. arts
    1. 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
    2. the support of a painting
    3. the background of a painting or main surface against which the other parts of a work of art appear superimposed
    1. the first coat of paint applied to a surface
    2. ( as modifier )

      ground colour

  11. the bottom of a river or the sea
  12. plural sediment or dregs, esp from coffee
  13. the floor of a room
  14. cricket
    1. the area from the popping crease back past the stumps, in which a batsman may legally stand
    2. ground staff
  15. a mesh or network supporting the main pattern of a piece of lace
  16. electrical
    1. a connection between an electrical circuit or device and the earth, which is at zero potential
    2. Also calledearth a terminal to which this connection is made
  17. above ground
  18. below ground
    dead and buried
  19. break new ground
    to do something that has not been done before
  20. cut the ground from under someone's feet
    to anticipate someone's action or argument and thus make it irrelevant or meaningless
  21. to the ground or down to the ground informal.
    completely; absolutely

    it suited him down to the ground

  22. get off the ground informal.
    to make a beginning, esp one that is successful
  23. go to ground
    to go into hiding
  24. into the ground
    beyond what is requisite or can be endured; to exhaustion
  25. meet someone on his own ground
    to meet someone according to terms he has laid down himself
  26. the high ground or the moral high ground
    a position of moral or ethical superiority in a dispute
  27. touch ground
    1. (of a ship) to strike the sea bed
    2. to arrive at something solid or stable after discussing or dealing with topics that are abstract or inconclusive
  28. modifier situated on, living on, or used on the ground

    ground forces

    ground frost

  29. modifier concerned with or operating on the ground, esp as distinct from in the air

    ground hostess

    ground crew

  30. 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
  3. tr to provide a basis or foundation for; establish
  4. tr to confine (an aircraft, pilot, etc) to the ground
  5. informal.
    tr to confine (a child) to the house as a punishment
  6. the usual US word for earth
  7. tr nautical to run (a vessel) aground
  8. tr to cover (a surface) with a preparatory coat of paint
  9. intr to hit or reach the 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.
  2. Also called earth
  3. 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.

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Other Words From

  • 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

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Word History and Origins

Origin of ground1

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

Origin of ground2

First recorded in 1755–65 ground 2fordef 2; ground 1

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Word History and Origins

Origin of ground1

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

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. break ground,
    1. to plow.
    2. to begin excavation for a construction project.
    3. to begin or take preparatory measures for any undertaking.
  2. cover ground,
    1. to pass or travel over a certain area.
    2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. from the ground up,
    1. gradually from the most elementary level to the highest level:

      She learned the business from the ground up.

    2. extensively; thoroughly:

      The professor knew his subject from the ground up.

  5. gain ground,
    1. to make progress; advance:

      As consumer demand for SUVs gained ground, so did the company's popularity.

    2. to gain approval or acceptance:

      The case for renewable energy is gaining ground throughout the country.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. into the ground, beyond a reasonable or necessary point:

    You've stated your case, and you needn't run it into the ground.

  9. lose ground,
    1. to retreat or be forced back.
    2. to lose one's advantage; suffer a reverse.
    3. to wane in popularity or acceptance; begin to fail:

      Our candidate is losing ground in industrial areas.

  10. off the ground, Informal. into action or well under way:

    The play never got off the ground.

  11. on one's own ground, in an area or situation that one knows well.
  12. on the ground,
    1. at the place of action, interest, or importance:

      Minutes after the bank robbery, reporters were on the ground to get the story.

    2. in reality; in real life: .

      The facts on the ground are different from the rosy picture in official narratives

  13. shift ground, to change position in an argument or situation.
  14. suit down to the ground, to be perfectly satisfactory; please greatly:

    This climate suits me down to the ground.

  15. take the ground, Nautical. to become grounded at low water.
  16. to ground,
    1. into a den, burrow, shelter, or the like:

      a fox gone to ground.

    2. into concealment or hiding:

      Rather than take the witness stand, she went to ground in another country.

  17. boots on the ground. boot 1( def 28 ).

More idioms and phrases containing ground

  • 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

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Example Sentences

His brother was a miner, and Stearns himself spent a year below ground.

However, the group revised its policy later that year so that an English bird name that causes “sufficient offense” could be changed solely on those grounds.

Those echoes, scientists say, occur as the whale’s call bounces off of rock layers within Earth’s crust — producing seismic images of the layers similar to those obtained by aiming sound waves at the ground with an air gun.

It’s another three hours toward the Texas border to reach New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns National Park, where you can tour several of the underground caves on your own, along with miles of above-ground hiking trails across the Chihuahuan Desert.

Whatever rabbit hole I had fallen down, the flavor was familiar enough to be grounding.

For every nanosecond that I miraculously lift off the ground, I land with an inordinately loud thud.

That article noted that the F-35 does not currently have the ability to down-link live video to ground troops,.

That ground hold was to stop you flying through weather that could kill you and everyone else aboard.

The Eighty-ninth Congress was potentially more fertile ground for the broad range of controversial programs on his dream agenda.

“I feel a shaking of the ground I stand on,” Carson tells Mrs. Hughes with trepidation.

A desultory conversation on politics, in which neither took the slightest interest, was a safe neutral ground.

He didn't need to wait—as the birds did—until an angleworm stuck his head above ground.

The Vine is a universal favorite, and rarely out of view; while it often seems to cover half the ground in sight.

Entrez donc, 'tis the work of one of your compatriots; and here, though a heretic, you may consider yourself on English ground.

Then the enemy's howitzers and field guns had it all their own way, forcing attack to yield a lot of ground.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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