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.
- grov·el·er; especially British, grov·el·ler, noun
- grov·el·ing·ly; especially British, grov·el·ling·ly, adverb
- un·grov·el·ing, adjective
- un·grov·el·ling, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use grovel in a sentence
I found the island’s one pier, paddled out, and proceeded to grovel for two-foot waves.
A 17th-century astronomer and naturalist, Giovanni Battista Hodierna, thought snakes used their tongues for “picking the dirt out of their noses … since they are always grovelling on the ground.”
I love watching Washington partisans grovel, backpedal, and spin.
Would-be partners had to grovel for deals and were only accepted on onerous terms, they said.
We need not grovel in the sinks and cellars, neither need we ruminate upon the house-tops.A Cursory History of Swearing | Julian Sharman
Behind the back of Monsieur P—— they grouch; before his face they grovel.
Nay, I would ask her forgiveness and grovel before her, if she would only let me enjoy her love again.The Making of a Saint | William Somerset Maugham
Then the two ladies who looked beheld Houdaine fall down at the feet of Sir Tristram and grovel there with joy.The Story of the Champions of the Round Table | Howard Pyle
Mahmud tried to grovel at the captains feet, wailing to Allah and the Prophet.Cursed | George Allan England
British Dictionary definitions for grovel
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)
- groveller, noun
- grovelling, noun, adjective
- grovellingly, adverb
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