[ ground-ling ]

  1. a plant or animal that lives on or close to the ground.

  2. any of various fishes that live at the bottom of the water.

  1. a spectator, reader, or other person of unsophisticated or uncultivated tastes; an uncritical or uncultured person.

  2. a member of a theater audience who sits in one of the cheaper seats.

Origin of groundling

First recorded in 1595–1605; ground1 + -ling1

Words Nearby groundling Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use groundling in a sentence

  • Nevertheless, the contempt inspired by the groundling served the Englishman in good stead at a critical moment.

    The Great Mogul | Louis Tracy
  • Pumpkins are among the most imposing of all groundling growths.

  • Still, it is heart-rending to think I shall never rise above the sordid earth, always remain a mere groundling!

    Parables from Flowers | Gertrude P. Dyer
  • Instead of sporting aloft in airy skyward flights, I am now a miserable groundling.

    Eye Spy | William Hamilton Gibson
  • To our sorry groundling minds the old pleasaunce may seem too rich and fantastic, too spectacular, too much idealised.

    Garden-Craft Old and New | John D. Sedding

British Dictionary definitions for groundling


/ (ˈɡraʊndlɪŋ) /

  1. any animal or plant that lives close to the ground or at the bottom of a lake, river, etc

    • (in Elizabethan theatre) a spectator standing in the yard in front of the stage and paying least

    • a spectator in the cheapest section of any theatre

  1. a person on the ground as distinguished from one in an aircraft

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