• WordNet 3.6
    • n groundling in Elizabethan theater: a playgoer in the cheap standing section
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Groundling (Zoöl) A fish that keeps at the bottom of the water, as the loach.
    • Groundling A spectator in the pit of a theater, which formerly was on the ground, and without floor or benches. "No comic buffoon to make the groundlings laugh."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n groundling That which lives upon the ground; a terrestrial animal.—2. A fish which habitually remains at the bottom of the water. Specifically— The spiny loach, Cobitis tœnia. Also ground-bait, ground-gudgeon.
    • n groundling The ring-plover, Ægialites hiaticula.
    • n groundling Formerly, a spectator who stood in the pit of a theater, which was literally on the ground, having neither floor nor benches.
    • n groundling Hence, allusively, one of the common herd; in the plural, the vulgar.
    • groundling Of a base or groveling nature.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Groundling a fish which keeps near the bottom of the water, esp. the spinous loach: a spectator in the pit of a theatre—-hence one of the common herd:
    • Groundling (pl.) the vulgar
    • ***


  • William Shakespeare
    “Oh! it offends me to the soul to hear a robust periwig-pated fellow, tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Ground, + -ling,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. grund; most prob. grund-en, pa.p. of grindan, and orig. meaning 'earth ground small;' cog. with Ger. grund, Ice. grunnr.


In literature:

Of course the thing is perfect, in the magazine, without the train-boy; but I was thinking of the stage and the groundlings.
"The Letters Of Mark Twain, Volume 3, 1876-1885" by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
Of course the thing is perfect, in the magazine, without the train-boy; but I was thinking of the stage and the groundlings.
"The Letters Of Mark Twain, Complete" by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
And the groundlings had guffawed!
"Merton of the Movies" by Harry Leon Wilson
Canvasclimbers who sailed with Drake chew their sausages among the groundlings.
"Ulysses" by James Joyce
In the pond behind the garden there were plenty of carp and groundlings.
"A House of Gentlefolk" by Ivan Turgenev
I feel sure she could shock and at the same time please the groundlings if she let herself go.
"Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 156, Apr 2, 1919" by Various
He came down from the Morality plays, and was beloved of the groundlings.
"Shakespearean Tragedy" by A. C. Bradley
Hamilton Burton regarded himself as the brother of monarchs and it devolves upon the Crown to face the envious animosity of groundlings.
"Destiny" by Charles Neville Buck
There is a kind of democracy of crime, contended for by Mr. Freeman, that has its charms to the ears of the groundlings.
"Secret Band of Brothers" by Jonathan Harrington Green
It would be a shame and a pity that so much good talent should be wasted on the groundlings of St. Giles.
"Madame Flirt" by Charles E. Pearce
Nothing tickles the vanity of the groundlings like this sort of verbal fireworks.
"Old Fogy" by James Huneker
Now you, who were born a lord, be ready to lord it over these groundlings!
"A Son of the Immortals" by Louis Tracy
Between the intervals of the band the bells, in discordant chorus, regaled 'the ears of the groundlings.
"The Greville Memoirs" by Charles C. F. Greville
The people who filled the 'yarde' were called groundlings.
"The History of London" by Walter Besant
He was a groundling, but his son should climb.
"In a Little Town" by Rupert Hughes
They were there for literary effect, and for the pleasure of the groundlings.
"The Quality of Mercy" by W. D. Howells
The groundlings within the yard grow infinitely unruly.
"A Select Collection of Old English Plays" by Robert Dodsley
Stars and groundlings, dear heart!
"The Tempering" by Charles Neville Buck
The people crowd, the groundlings jostle, men of quality press forward to the platform.
"The Memoirs of Count Carlo Gozzi; Volume the first" by Count Carlo Gozzi
To our sorry groundling minds the old pleasaunce may seem too rich and fantastic, too spectacular, too much idealised.
"Garden-Craft Old and New" by John D. Sedding

In news:

Chicago has Second City, Los Angeles has The Groundlings and here in Pensacola there's Improvable Cause.
Which is odd, given that the city is home to SNL boot camps like the Groundlings and the West Coast outpost of the Upright Citizens Brigade.