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grovel

[gruhv-uh l, grov-] /ˈgrʌv əl, ˈgrɒv-/
verb (used without object), groveled, groveling or (especially British) grovelled, grovelling.
1.
to humble oneself or act in an abject manner, as in great fear or utter servility.
2.
to lie or crawl with the face downward and the body prostrate, especially in abject humility, fear, etc.
3.
to take pleasure in mean or base things.
Origin
1585-1595
1585-95; back formation from obsolete groveling (adv.), equivalent to obsolete grufe face down (< Old Norse ā grūfu face down) + -ling2, taken to be present participle
Related forms
groveler; especially British, groveller, noun
grovelingly; especially British, grovellingly, adverb
ungroveling, adjective
ungrovelling, adjective
Can be confused
gavel, gravel, grovel.
Synonyms
1. truckle, toady, fawn, kowtow, pander.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for grovelling
  • The power of the state prompts firms to spend more time grovelling to politicians than grappling with original thoughts.
British Dictionary definitions for grovelling

grovel

/ˈɡrɒvəl/
verb (intransitive) -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
1.
to humble or abase oneself, as in making apologies or showing respect
2.
to lie or crawl face downwards, as in fear or humility
3.
(often foll by in) to indulge or take pleasure (in sensuality or vice)
Derived Forms
groveller, noun
grovelling, noun, adjective
grovellingly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: back formation from obsolete groveling (adv), from Middle English on grufe on the face, of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse ā grūfu, from grūfa prone position; see -ling²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for grovelling

grovel

v.

1590s, Shakespearian back-formation of groveling (Middle English), regarded as a present participle but really an adverb, from Old Norse grufe "prone" + obsolete adverbial suffix -ling (which survives also as the -long in headlong, sidelong); first element from Old Norse a grufu "on proneness." Perhaps related to creep. Related: Groveled; grovelled; groveling; grovelling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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15
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