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  • IPA(key): /ɡɹaʊnd/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aʊnd

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English grounde, from Old English grund, from Proto-Germanic *grunduz, from Proto-Indo-European *gʰr̥mtu-. Cognate with West Frisian grûn, Dutch grond and German Grund. Non-Germanic cognates include Albanian grundë (brittle earth).

Alternative forms[edit]

  • GND (contraction used in electronics)


ground (countable and uncountable, plural grounds)

  1. (uncountable) The surface of the Earth, as opposed to the sky or water or underground.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 23, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      If the afternoon was fine they strolled together in the park, very slowly, and with pauses to draw breath wherever the ground sloped upward. The slightest effort made the patient cough.
    • 1977, Agatha Christie, chapter 4, in An Autobiography, part II, London: Collins, →ISBN:
      Mind you, clothes were clothes in those days. […]  Frills, ruffles, flounces, lace, complicated seams and gores: not only did they sweep the ground and have to be held up in one hand elegantly as you walked along, but they had little capes or coats or feather boas.
    • 2013 June 8, “The new masters and commanders”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8839, page 52:
      From the ground, Colombo’s port does not look like much. Those entering it are greeted by wire fences, walls dating back to colonial times and security posts.
  2. (uncountable) Terrain.
  3. (uncountable) Soil, earth.
    The worm crawls through the ground.
    The fox escaped from the hounds by going to ground.
  4. (countable) The bottom of a body of water.
  5. Basis, foundation, groundwork, legwork.
  6. Reason, (epistemic) justification, cause.
    You will need to show good grounds for your action.
    He could not come on grounds of health, or on health grounds.
  7. Background, context, framework, surroundings.
    • 1922, Michael Arlen, “1/1/2”, in “Piracy”: A Romantic Chronicle of These Days[1]:
      House Prees and Bloods [] were everywhere to be seen in earnest colloquy. For the matter was, that there was some sort of night-prowler about the school grounds.
  8. (historical) The area on which a battle is fought, particularly as referring to the area occupied by one side or the other. Often, according to the eventualities, "to give ground" or "to gain ground".
  9. (figuratively) Hence, by extension, advantage given or gained in any contest; e.g. in football, chess, debate or academic discourse.
  10. plain surface upon which the figures of an artistic composition are set.
    crimson flowers on a white ground
  11. In sculpture, a flat surface upon which figures are raised in relief.
  12. In point lace, the net of small meshes upon which the embroidered pattern is applied.
    Brussels ground
  13. In etching, a gummy substance spread over the surface of a metal to be etched, to prevent the acid from eating except where an opening is made by the needle.
  14. (architecture, chiefly in the plural) One of the pieces of wood, flush with the plastering, to which mouldings etc. are attached.
    Grounds are usually put up first and the plastering floated flush with them.
  15. (countable) A soccer stadium.
    Manchester United's ground is known as Old Trafford.
  16. (electricity, Canada and US) An electrical conductor connected to the ground.
  17. (electricity, Canada and US) A level of electrical potential used as a zero reference.
  18. (countable, cricket) The area of grass on which a match is played (a cricket field); the entire arena in which it is played; the part of the field behind a batsman's popping crease where he can not be run out (hence to make one's ground).
  19. (music) A composition in which the bass, consisting of a few bars of independent notes, is continually repeated to a varying melody.
  20. (music) The tune on which descants are raised; the plain song.
    • 1592, William Shakespeare, The Life and Death of Richard III, act III, scene vii, in: The Works of Shakeſpear V (1726), page 149:
      Buck[ingham]   The Mayor is here at hand; pretend ſome fear, // Be not you ſpoke with, but by mighty ſuit; // And look you get a prayer-book in your hand, // And ſtand between two churchmen, good my lord, // For on that ground I’ll build a holy deſcant: // And be not eaſily won to our requeſts: // Play the maid’s part, ſtill anſwer nay, and take it.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Moore (Encyc.) to this entry?)
  21. The pit of a theatre.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ben Jonson to this entry?)
  • (electricity) earth (British)
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.
See also[edit]


ground (third-person singular simple present grounds, present participle grounding, simple past and past participle grounded)

  1. (US) To connect (an electrical conductor or device) to a ground.
    Synonym: earth
  2. (transitive) To punish, especially a child or teenager, by forcing him/her to stay at home and/or give up certain privileges.
    Synonym: gate
    If you don't clean your room, I'll have no choice but to ground you.
    Eric, you are grounded until further notice for lying to us about where you were last night!
    My kids are currently grounded from television.
  3. (transitive) To forbid (an aircraft or pilot) to fly.
    Because of the bad weather, all flights were grounded.
  4. To give a basic education in a particular subject; to instruct in elements or first principles.
    Jim was grounded in maths.
  5. (baseball) to hit a ground ball; to hit a ground ball which results in an out. Compare fly (verb(regular)) and line (verb).
    Jones grounded to second in his last at-bat.
  6. (cricket) (of a batsman) to place his bat, or part of his body, on the ground behind the popping crease so as not to be run out
  7. (intransitive) To run aground; to strike the bottom and remain fixed.
    The ship grounded on the bar.
  8. To found; to fix or set, as on a foundation, reason, or principle; to furnish a ground for; to fix firmly.
    • Bible, Ephesians iii. 17
      being rooted and grounded in love
    • Sir W. Hamilton
      So far from warranting any inference to the existence of a God, would, on the contrary, ground even an argument to his negation.
  9. (fine arts) To cover with a ground, as a copper plate for etching, or as paper or other materials with a uniform tint as a preparation for ornament.
  10. To improve or focus the mental or emotional state of.
    I ground myself with meditation.

Etymology 2[edit]

Inflected form of grind. See also milled.



  1. simple past tense and past participle of grind
    I ground the coffee up nicely.


ground (not comparable)

  1. Crushed, or reduced to small particles.
    Synonym: milled
    ground mustard seed
  2. Processed by grinding.
    lenses of ground glass
Derived terms[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


From Old English grund, from Proto-Germanic *grunduz.



  1. ground
  2. Earth