- To grovel is defined as to behave humbly or with humility, as if you are standing before authority.
An example of to grovel is to beg and plead for someone's forgiveness.
grovel definition by Webster's New World
- to lie prone or crawl in a prostrate position, esp. abjectly
- to behave humbly or abjectly, as before authority; debase oneself in a servile fashion
- to wallow in what is low or contemptible
Origin: back-formation (first found in Shakespeare) ; from grovelling, down on one's face (assumed to be present participle ) ; from Middle English grufelinge ; from gruf, for o grufe, on the face (; from Old Norse ā grūfu) plush -ling, -ling
grovel definition by American Heritage Dictionary
intransitive verb grov·eled also grov·elled, grov·el·ing also grov·el·ling, grov·els also grov·els
- To behave in a servile or demeaning manner; cringe.
- To lie or creep in a prostrate position, as in subservience or humility.
- To give oneself over to base pleasures: “Have we not groveled here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?” (Walt Whitman).
Origin: Back-formation from obsolete groveling, prone, face downward, from Middle English : (on) grufe, face downwards (from Old Norse ā grūfu, from grūfa, to grovel) + -ling, adv. suff.; see -ling2.
- grovˈel·er noun