- 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.
Origin of grovel
SynonymsSee more synonyms for grovel on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for grovelled
He grovelled on the divan heavy in thought and with pendent arms.Therese Raquin
I grovelled at your feet and begged you—you spurned me as I do you now.Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer
Cyrus Townsend Brady
By the side of the man he rose, and the man shrieked and grovelled.Soldiers Three, Part II.
Meiser flung down his revolver, and grovelled like a beast at Fougas' feet.The Man With The Broken Ear
Then Tua spoke, looking down at the wretched Abi who grovelled before her.Morning Star
H. Rider Haggard
- 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)
Word Origin and History for grovelled
1590s, Shakespearian back-formation of groveling (Middle English), regarded as a present participle but really an adverb, from Old Norse grufe "prone" + obsolete adverbial suffix -ling (which survives also as the -long in headlong, sidelong); first element from Old Norse a grufu "on proneness." Perhaps related to creep. Related: Groveled; grovelled; groveling; grovelling.