Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English *grovelen, from Old Norse grufla, grœfla (to grovel), from Proto-Germanic *grubilōną (to dig, delve into), from Proto-Indo-European *gʰrebʰ‑ (to dig, scrape, scrabble, scratch); akin to Old Norse á grufu (on one's belly) ( > Old Norse grúfa (to lie face down, grovel)). Cognate with Scots grovel, gruvil (to grovel), German grübeln (to meditate, ponder), Norwegian Nynorsk gruvla (to grovel). Compare also West Frisian groebeltsje (to make a mess, skip school, skive), Dutch grobbelen (to grope, root, grub).


  • (file)
    Rhymes: -ɒvəl


grovel (third-person singular simple present grovels, present participle (UK) grovelling or (US) groveling, simple past and past participle (UK) grovelled or (US) groveled)

  1. (intransitive) To be prone on the ground.
  2. (intransitive) To crawl.
  3. (intransitive) To abase oneself before another person.
  4. (intransitive) To be slavishly nice to someone or apologize in the hope of securing something.
  5. (intransitive) To take pleasure in mundane activities. (Can we add an example for this sense?)

Derived terms[edit]