- 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.
intransitive verbgroveled or grovelled, groveling or grovelling
- 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 of grovelback-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) + -ling, -ling
intransitive verbgrov·eled, grov·el·ing, grov·els also grov·elled or grov·el·ling
- To behave in a servile or obsequious manner.
- 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 of grovelBack-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.
(third-person singular simple present grovels, present participle grovelling or groveling, simple past and past participle grovelled or groveled)
- The spellings grovelling and grovelled are more common in the UK. Groveling and groveled are more common in the US.
From Old Norse á grufu (“on one's belly”) (> Old Norse grúfa (“to grovel”)).