grope

[grohp]
verb (used without object), groped, groping.
1.
to feel about with the hands; feel one's way: I had to grope around in the darkness before I found the light switch.
2.
to search blindly or uncertainly: He seemed to be groping for an answer to the question.
verb (used with object), groped, groping.
3.
to seek by or as if by groping: to grope one's way up the dark stairs.
4.
to touch or handle (someone) for sexual pleasure.
noun
5.
an act or instance of groping.
6.
Slang. an act or instance of sexually fondling another person.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English gropien, Old English grāpian, derivative of grāp grasp; akin to gripe, grasp


1. fumble, probe, fish.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
grope (ɡrəʊp)
 
vb (usually foll by for)
1.  to feel or search about uncertainly (for something) with the hands
2.  (intr; usually foll by for or after) to search uncertainly or with difficulty (for a solution, answer, etc)
3.  (tr) to find or make (one's way) by groping
4.  slang (tr) to feel or fondle the body of (someone) for sexual gratification
 
n
5.  the act of groping
 
[Old English grāpian; related to Old High German greifōn, Norwegian greipa; compare gripe]
 
'gropingly
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

grope
O.E. grapian "to feel about as one blind or in darkness," originally "to feel or handle," related to gripan "grasp at" (see gripe). Fig. sense is from early 14c. Indecent sense (marked as "obsolete" in OED) is from c.1300.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Some bring poignant efforts to the work, but then grope for a handhold.
They may still grope each other--but they'll do it intelligently.
As rival leaders grope for a definition of the centre-left, however, a
  political gap is opening up to their left.
We definitely have to grope through darkness, as you said.
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