- 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 on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for grovelling
Compare that moment of exaltation with the grovelling life of your Christians!Lotus Buds
With a sense of grovelling meanness, Philip sat and listened.The Manxman
He ended; and clung clasping our knees and grovelling at them.The Aeneid of Virgil
Beggars display their stumps and their sores, grovelling on the ground like brutes.Appearances
Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson
He will paint her as Circe, mocking at her grovelling herd of swine!Uncanny Tales
- 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 grovelling
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.