• WordNet 3.6
    • v grovel show submission or fear
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Grovel To creep on the earth, or with the face to the ground; to lie prone, or move uneasily with the body prostrate on the earth; to lie flat on one's belly, expressive of abjectness; to crawl. "To creep and grovel on the ground."
    • Grovel To tend toward, or delight in, what is sensual or base; to be low, abject, or mean.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • grovel To creep or crawl on the earth, or with the face and body bent to the ground; lie prone, or move with the body prostrate on the earth; especially, to lie prostrate in abject humility, fear, etc.
    • grovel Hence To have a tendency toward or take pleasure in low or base things; be low, abject, or mean; be morally depraved.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.i Grovel grov′el to crawl on the earth, esp. in abject fear, &c.: to be base or mean
    • pr.p Grovel grov′elling; pa.p. grov′elled
    • ***


  • William M. Thackeray
    “Whenever he met a great man he groveled before him, and my-lorded him as only a free-born Briton can do.”
  • James Russell Lowell
    “There is no self-delusion more fatal than that which makes the conscience dreamy with the anodyne of lofty sentiments, while the life is groveling and sensual.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
From OE. grovelinge, grufelinge, (adv.), on the face, prone, which was misunderstood as a p. pr.; cf. OE. gruf, groff, in the same sense; of Scand. origin, cf. Icel. grūfa, in ā grūfu, on the face, prone, grūfa, to grovel


In literature:

Her eyes, as she stood waiting for the boy to come to the elevator, seemed fairly to grovel on the floor.
"The Witness" by Grace Livingston Hill Lutz
Must a man grovel and weep and rave?
"Poor Man's Rock" by Bertrand W. Sinclair
The capitulation was indeed more than complete; the Venetians not only gave in but grovelled.
"A Wanderer in Venice" by E.V. Lucas
Any one might say, "Neither swagger nor grovel"; and it would have been a limit.
"Orthodoxy" by G. K. Chesterton
These could not be inventions of the grovelling authors who relate them.
"Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The Papers Of Thomas Jefferson" by Thomas Jefferson
Grovelling on the ground lay an elderly Chinese, whose peculiar aspect and general demeanour made it clear what he was.
"Indiscreet Letters From Peking"
When the time comes he will grovel and squirm and whine.
"The Adventures of Kathlyn" by Harold MacGrath
The man remained stupidly, idiotically dumb, only grovelling lower and more abjectly each time.
"The Thin Red Line; and Blue Blood" by Arthur Griffiths
The Druses grovel before him; as he still hesitates, the trumpet of his Venetian allies sounds.
"An Introduction to the Study of Browning" by Arthur Symons
The Siberian peasant grovels in the dust before a Russian noble.
"Our Deportment" by John H. Young

In poetry:

Where home is a hovel and dull we grovel,
Forgetting that the world is fair;
Where no babe we cherish, lest its very soul perish;
Where mirth is crime, and love a snare.
"The Voice Of Toil" by William Morris
And while she grovelled at his feet,
She felt the King's breath wander o'er her neck,
And in the darkness o'er her fallen head,
Perceived the waving of his hands that blest.
"Guinevere" by Alfred Lord Tennyson
My soul is envious of mine eye,
That it should soar and glide with thee so fast,
The while my grovelling thoughts half buried lie,
Or lawless roam around this earthly waste.
"Ascension Day" by John Keble
Ah, did we know to give her all her right,
What wonders even in our poor clay were done!
It is not Woman leaves us to our night,
But our brute earth that grovels from her sun.
"Das Ewig-Weibliche" by James Russell Lowell
Down, down to the dust with ye, cowards inhuman!
And learn, as ye grovel, for mercy to live,
That Love is the Sceptre and Throne of the Nation,
And Freedom the Crown that the centuries give!
"Pro Patria: America, 1861" by Adah Isaacs Menken
Down on his knees he sinks, the stiff-necked King,
Stoops and kneels and grovels, chin to the mud.
Out from his changed heart flutter on startled wing
The fancy birds of his Pride, Honour, Kinglihood.
"Nebuchadnezzar's Fall" by Robert Graves

In news:

To keep your momentum through the rest of summer, we consulted with Florida's Evan Geiselman—an expert on making the meager look meaty—on the finer points of groveling .
Neil Grovel 's Farewell Show Finally, Ripped From The Womb of KFJC 89.7FM.
Newlywed Justin Timberlake has issued a groveling apology over a highly insensitive wedding video that mocked homeless people, is reporting.
If there is ever a good time for one to grovel before his audience, this is it.
With desserts being a sin, there are some who want to grovel in their decadence, abasing themselves with dense three-chocolate cakes globbed over in chocolate sauce and canned whipped cream.
With desserts being a sin, there are some who want to grovel in their decadence, abasing themselves with dense three-chocolate cakes globbed over in chocolate sauce and canned whipped cream .
Oscar groveling is ' disgusting '.
Everyone from elected and appointed officials to public safety folks to insurance agents pointed to the dunes this week in appreciation, and we prefer not to ever grovel over anything, but the dunes deserve a standing ovation.
A day after a video emerged of "Two and a Half Men" star Angus T Jones calling the show " filth ", the actor has issued a grovelling apology to the cast and crew.
Fox News anchor Shepard Smith made a groveling apology to viewers after a production error allowed a man's shocking suicide to be shown on live television.
Earl Leonard Smith passed away Monday, Dec 3rd, 2012, at Integris Grovel Hospital in Grove, Okla. Earl was born on Jan 16th, 1924, in Stella, Mo.
But now, he is the one doing the groveling - by publicly begging with his mother-in-law Greta Hutcheson for forgiveness, can reveal.
The Art of the Public Grovel: Sexual Sin and Public Confession in America, by Susan Wise Bauer.
He said, his glasses got knocked off and he had to grovel around on the floor getting stepped & pogo-ed on to retrieve them.
Watching her husband grovel before and flatter his boss, a woman wonders what happened to the man she married.