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  • verb UK Present participle of grovel.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective totally submissive


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • He lent him his hand to help him, touched him, and set him upon his hands and knees (v. 10), else he would still have lain grovelling, touched his lips (v. 16), else he would have been still dumb; again he touched him (v. 18), and put strength into him, else he would still have been staggering and trembling.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume IV (Isaiah to Malachi) 1721

  • * At one level theres an easy reply to the accusations of grovelling, which is that Galloway took the decision to meet Saddam because he felt it could strengthen the chance for peace, and then had to follow the required degree of courtesy.

    What's Going On Mark Steel 2009

  • Of all the varied methods, John Gunter, the fisherman, preferred the grub-and-grovelling method, and the favourite scene of his grovelling was a low grog-shop in one of the lower parts of Yarmouth.

    The Young Trawler 1859

  • Commentators accused Obama of "grovelling" and noted that protocol traditionally calls for an American president to bow to no one ... least of all a foreign potentate.

    Home - 2009

  • When it came time to apologise, Ron Brown varied the text of his agreed apology, describing it as "grovelling" and "rubbish".

    Harry's Place 2009

  • She said it was ridiculous that Church leaders appeared to be 'grovelling' to a secular agenda.

    of course, I could be wrong... 2008

  • She said it was ridiculous that Church leaders appeared to be 'grovelling' to a secular agenda.

    The Lair of the Catholic Cavemen 2008

  • The news comes out just two days after Weiner, a rising star within the Democratic party, made a grovelling televised apology in which he admitted he had sent semi-clad photographs of himself to at least six different women, some of which had occurred after his marriage.

    Anthony Weiner's wife Huma Abedin reportedly pregnant 2011

  • White Fang crawled slowly, cringing and grovelling in the abjectness of his abasement and submission.

    The Trail of the Gods 2010

  • At first Bâtard would crowd himself into the smallest possible space, grovelling close to the floor; but as the music came nearer and nearer, he was forced to uprear, his back jammed into the logs, his fore legs fanning the air as though to beat off the rippling waves of sound.

    BÂTARD 2010


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  • Origin of the word grovel, by back-formation. It was originally an adverb formed of an obsolete word meaning "prone position" (spellings ranging over gruff, groffe, grufe etc.) plus an adverb formative -ling related to the suffix of headlong, sidelong, along.

    July 2, 2010