grovel

[ gruhv-uhl, grov- ]
/ ˈgrʌv əl, ˈgrɒv- /

verb (used without object), grov·eled, grov·el·ing or (especially British) grov·elled, grov·el·ling.

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.

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Origin of grovel

1585–95; back formation from obsolete groveling (adv.), equivalent to obsolete grufe face down (<Old Norse ā grūfu face down) + -ling2, taken to be present participle

OTHER WORDS FROM grovel

grov·el·er; especially British, grov·el·ler, noungrov·el·ing·ly; especially British, grov·el·ling·ly, adverbun·grov·el·ing, adjectiveun·grov·el·ling, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH grovel

gavel, gravel, grovel
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for grovel

British Dictionary definitions for grovel

grovel
/ (ˈɡrɒvəl) /

verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled (intr)

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)

Derived forms of grovel

groveller, noungrovelling, noun, adjectivegrovellingly, adverb

Word Origin for grovel

C16: back formation from obsolete groveling (adv), from Middle English on grufe on the face, of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse ā grūfu, from grūfa prone position; see -ling ²
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