grope

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English gropien, from Old English grāpian, related to grīpan (whence English gripe); cf. also grip.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

grope (third-person singular simple present gropes, present participle groping, simple past and past participle groped)

  1. (obsolete) To feel with or use the hands; to handle.
  2. To search or attempt to find something in the dark, or, as a blind person, by feeling; to move about hesitatingly, as in darkness or obscurity; to feel one's way, as with the hands, when one can not see.
    • Buckminster
      to grope a little longer among the miseries and sensualities of a worldly life
    • 1898, J. Meade Falkner, Moonfleet Chapter 4
      Yet there was no time to be lost if I was ever to get out alive, and so I groped with my hands against the side of the grave until I made out the bottom edge of the slab, and then fell to grubbing beneath it with my fingers. But the earth, which the day before had looked light and loamy to the eye, was stiff and hard enough when one came to tackle it with naked hands, and in an hour's time I had done little more than further weary myself and bruise my fingers.
  3. To touch (another person) closely and (especially) sexually.
    We've been together two weeks, and have just been kissing and groping, but no sex yet.
  4. (obsolete) To examine; to test; to sound.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Chaucer to this entry?)
    • Genevan Testament (Acts xxiv)
      Felix gropeth him, thinking to have a bribe.

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

grope (plural gropes)

  1. (informal) An act of groping, especially sexually.
  2. (obsolete) an iron fitting of a medieval cart wheel
    • 1866, James Edwin Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England, Volume 1, p. 544.
      Gropes appear to be pieces of iron binding together the inner joint of the fitting, and grope-nails to have been used for fastening these to the wood.