1 [ground]
the solid surface of the earth; firm or dry land: to fall to the ground.
earth or soil: stony ground.
land having an indicated character: rising ground.
Often, grounds. a tract of land appropriated to a special use: picnic grounds; a hunting ground.
Often, grounds. the foundation or basis on which a belief or action rests; reason or cause: grounds for dismissal.
subject for discussion; topic: Sex education is forbidden ground in some school curricula.
rational or factual support for one's position or attitude, as in a debate or argument: on firm ground; on shaky ground.
the main surface or background in painting, decorative work, lace, etc.
Fine Arts.
a coating of some substance serving as a surface for paint, ink, or other media in art: Lead white is a traditional ground for oil paintings.
ground color ( def 2 ).
(in perception) the background in a visual field, contrasted with the figure.
Also called etching ground. an acid-resistant substance, composed of wax, gum, and resin in varying proportions, applied to the entire surface of an etching plate and through which the design is drawn with an etching needle.
grounds, dregs or sediment: coffee grounds.
grounds, the gardens, lawn, etc., surrounding and belonging to a building.
Electricity. a conducting connection between an electric circuit or equipment and the earth or some other conducting body.
Music. ground bass.
Nautical. the bottom of a body of water.
the earth's solid or liquid surface; land or water.
a strip of wood to which woodwork can be attached, set flush with the plaster finish of a room.
a strip of wood or length of corner bead used at an opening as a stop for plasterwork.
situated on or at, or adjacent to, the surface of the earth: a ground attack.
pertaining to the ground.
Military. operating on land: ground forces.
verb (used with object)
to lay or set on the ground.
to place on a foundation; fix firmly; settle or establish; found.
to instruct in elements or first principles: to ground students in science.
to furnish with a ground or background, as on decorative work.
to cover (wallpaper) with colors or other materials before printing.
Electricity. to establish a ground for (a circuit, device, etc.).
Nautical. to cause (a vessel) to run aground.
Aeronautics. to restrict (an aircraft or the like) to the ground because of bad weather, the unsatisfactory condition of the aircraft, etc.
to forbid (a pilot) to fly because of bad health, failure to comply with safety regulations, or the like.
Informal. to put out of action or make unable to participate: The quarterback was grounded by a knee injury.
Informal. to restrict the activities, especially the social activities, of: I can't go to the party—my parents have grounded me until my grades improve.
verb (used without object)
to come to or strike the ground.
to hit a ground ball.
to ground out.
Verb phrases
ground out, Baseball. to be put out at first base after hitting a ground ball to the infield.
break ground,
to plow.
to begin excavation for a construction project.
to begin upon or take preparatory measures for any undertaking.
cover ground,
to pass or travel over a certain area.
to make a certain amount of progress in dealing with a piece of work, subject, treatise, or the like: He talked for two hours without covering much ground.
cut the ground from under, to render (an argument, position, person, etc.) ineffective or invalid; refute: It didn't require much effort to cut the ground from under that case.
from the ground up,
gradually from the most elementary level to the highest level: She learned the business from the ground up.
extensively; thoroughly: The professor knew his subject from the ground up.
gain ground,
to make progress; advance.
to gain approval or acceptance: The case for air-pollution control is gaining ground throughout the country.
give ground, to yield to force or forceful argument; retreat: The disarmament talks reached an impasse when neither side would give ground on inspection proposals.
hold / stand one's ground, to maintain one's position; be steadfast: The referee stood his ground, though his decision was hotly contested by the crowd.
into the ground, beyond a reasonable or necessary point: You've stated your case, and you needn't run it into the ground.
lose ground,
to retreat or be forced back.
to lose one's advantage; suffer a reverse.
to wane in popularity or acceptance; begin to fail: Our candidate is losing ground in industrial areas.
off the ground, Informal. into action or well under way: The play never got off the ground.
on one's own ground, in an area or situation that one knows well.
on the ground, at the place of interest or importance; actively engaged: Minutes after the bank robbery reporters were on the ground to get the story.
shift ground, to change position in an argument or situation.
suit down to the ground, to be perfectly satisfactory; please greatly: This climate suits me down to the ground.
take the ground, Nautical. to become grounded at low water.
to ground,
into a den, burrow, shelter, or the like: a fox gone to ground.
into concealment or hiding: Rather than take the witness stand, she went to ground in another country.

before 900; (noun) Middle English grownd, grund, Old English grund; cognate with Dutch grond, German Grund; (v.) Middle English grundien, grownden to set on a foundation, establish, derivative of the noun

groundable, adjective
groundably, adverb
groundedly, adverb
groundedness, noun
groundward, groundwards, adverb, adjective
ungroundable, adjective

ground, grounds. Unabridged


2 [ground]
a simple past tense and past participle of grind.
reduced to fine particles or dust by grinding.
(of meat, vegetables, etc.) reduced to very small pieces by putting through a food processor or grinder: ground beef.
having the surface abraded or roughened by or as if by grinding, as in order to reduce its transparency: ground glass.

1755–65 for def 2; see ground1


verb (used with object), ground or (Rare) grinded; grinding.
to wear, smooth, or sharpen by abrasion or friction; whet: to grind a lens.
to reduce to fine particles, as by pounding or crushing; bray, triturate, or pulverize.
to oppress, torment, or crush: to grind the poor.
to rub harshly or gratingly; grate together; grit: to grind one's teeth.
to operate by turning a crank: to grind a hand organ.
to produce by crushing or abrasion: to grind flour.
Slang. to annoy; irritate; irk: It really grinds me when he's late.
verb (used without object), ground or (Rare) grinded; grinding.
to perform the operation of reducing to fine particles.
to rub harshly; grate.
to be or become ground.
to be polished or sharpened by friction.
Informal. to work or study laboriously (often followed by away ): He was grinding away at his algebra.
Slang. (in a dance) to rotate the hips in a suggestive manner. Compare bump ( def 11 ).
the act of grinding.
a grinding sound.
a grade of particle fineness into which a substance is ground: The coffee is available in various grinds for different coffee makers.
laborious, usually uninteresting work: Copying all the footnotes was a grind.
Informal. an excessively diligent student.
Slang. a dance movement in which the hips are rotated in a suggestive or erotic manner. Compare bump ( def 20 ).
Verb phrases
grind out,
to produce in a routine or mechanical way: to grind out magazine stories.
to extinguish by rubbing the lighted end against a hard surface: to grind out a cigarette.

before 950; Middle English grinden, Old English grindan; akin to Gothic grinda-, Latin frendere

grindable, adjective
grindability, noun
grindingly, adverb
regrind, verb, reground, regrinding.
ungrindable, adjective

2. crush, powder, comminute, pound. 3. persecute, plague, afflict, trouble. 4. abrade. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
grind (ɡraɪnd)
vb (foll by out) (often foll by down) (foll by out) (foll by out) (often foll by into) , grinds, grinding, ground
1.  to reduce or be reduced to small particles by pounding or abrading: to grind corn; to grind flour
2.  (tr) to smooth, sharpen, or polish by friction or abrasion: to grind a knife
3.  to scrape or grate together (two things, esp the teeth) with a harsh rasping sound or (of such objects) to be scraped together
4.  to speak or say (something) in a rough voice
5.  to hold down; oppress; tyrannize
6.  (tr) to operate (a machine) by turning a handle
7.  to produce in a routine or uninspired manner: he ground out his weekly article for the paper
8.  to continue to play in a dull or insipid manner: the band only ground out old tunes all evening
9.  to instil (facts, information, etc) by persistent effort: they ground into the recruits the need for vigilance
10.  informal (intr) to study or work laboriously
11.  chiefly (US) (intr) to dance erotically by rotating the pelvis (esp in the phrase bump and grind)
12.  informal laborious or routine work or study
13.  slang chiefly (US) a person, esp a student, who works excessively hard
14.  a specific grade of pulverization, as of coffee beans: coarse grind
15.  slang (Brit) the act of sexual intercourse
16.  chiefly (US) a dance movement involving an erotic rotation of the pelvis
17.  the act or sound of grinding
[Old English grindan; related to Latin frendere, Lithuanian gréndu I rub, Low German grand sand]

ground1 (ɡraʊnd)
1.  the land surface
2.  earth or soil: he dug into the ground outside his house
3.  (plural) the land around a dwelling house or other building
4.  (sometimes plural) an area of land given over to a purpose: football ground; burial grounds
5.  land having a particular characteristic: level ground; high ground
6.  matter for consideration or debate; field of research or inquiry: the lecture was familiar ground to him; the report covered a lot of ground
7.  a position or viewpoint, as in an argument or controversy (esp in the phrases give ground, hold, stand,orshift one's ground)
8.  position or advantage, as in a subject or competition (esp in the phrases gain ground, lose ground, etc)
9.  (often plural) reason; justification: grounds for complaint
10.  arts
 a.  the prepared surface applied to the support of a painting, such as a wall, canvas, etc, to prevent it reacting with or absorbing the paint
 b.  the support of a painting
 c.  the background of a painting or main surface against which the other parts of a work of art appear superimposed
11.  a.  the first coat of paint applied to a surface
 b.  (as modifier): ground colour
12.  the bottom of a river or the sea
13.  (plural) sediment or dregs, esp from coffee
14.  chiefly (Brit) the floor of a room
15.  cricket
 a.  the area from the popping crease back past the stumps, in which a batsman may legally stand
 b.  ground staff
16.  See ground bass
17.  a mesh or network supporting the main pattern of a piece of lace
18.  (US), (Canadian) electrical
 a.  a connection between an electrical circuit or device and the earth, which is at zero potential
 b.  Also called: earth a terminal to which this connection is made
19.  above ground alive
20.  below ground dead and buried
21.  break new ground to do something that has not been done before
22.  cut the ground from under someone's feet to anticipate someone's action or argument and thus make it irrelevant or meaningless
23.  informal (Brit) to the ground, down to the ground completely; absolutely: it suited him down to the ground
24.  informal get off the ground to make a beginning, esp one that is successful
25.  go to ground to go into hiding
26.  into the ground beyond what is requisite or can be endured; to exhaustion
27.  meet someone on his own ground to meet someone according to terms he has laid down himself
28.  the high ground, the moral high ground a position of moral or ethical superiority in a dispute
29.  touch ground
 a.  (of a ship) to strike the sea bed
 b.  to arrive at something solid or stable after discussing or dealing with topics that are abstract or inconclusive
30.  (modifier) situated on, living on, or used on the ground: ground frost; ground forces
31.  (modifier) concerned with or operating on the ground, esp as distinct from in the air: ground crew; ground hostess
32.  (modifier) (used in names of plants) low-growing and often trailing or spreading
33.  (tr) to put or place on the ground
34.  (tr) to instruct in fundamentals
35.  (tr) to provide a basis or foundation for; establish
36.  (tr) to confine (an aircraft, pilot, etc) to the ground
37.  informal (tr) to confine (a child) to the house as a punishment
38.  the usual US word for earth
39.  (tr) nautical to run (a vessel) aground
40.  (tr) to cover (a surface) with a preparatory coat of paint
41.  (intr) to hit or reach the ground
[Old English grund; related to Old Norse grunn shallow, grunnr, grund plain, Old High German grunt]

ground2 (ɡraʊnd)
1.  the past tense and past participle of grind
2.  having the surface finished, thickness reduced, or an edge sharpened by grinding
3.  reduced to fine particles by grinding

ground bass or ground (beɪs)
music a short melodic bass line that is repeated over and over again
ground or ground

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. grindan, forgrindan "destroy by crushing" (class III strong verb; past tense grand, pp. grunden), from P.Gmc. *grindanan (cf. Du. grenden), related to ground, from PIE *ghrendh- "crushing" (cf. L. frendere "to gnash the teeth," Gk. khondros "corn, grain," Lith. grendu "to scrape, scratch"). The
noun sense "steady, hard work" first recorded 1851 in college student slang; the meaning "hard-working student" is Amer.Eng. slang from 1864. Grinder as a type of large sandwich is first recorded 1954. To keep one's nose to the grindstone was originally to get control of another and treat him harshly:
"This Text holdeth their noses so hard to the grindstone, that it clean disfigureth their Faces." [Frith, "Mirror to know Thyself," 1532]
The main modern (reflective) sense of "work hard" is from 1828.

O.E. grund "foundation, ground, surface of the earth," especially "bottom of the sea" (a sense preserved in run aground), from P.Gmc. *grundus, which seems to have meant "deep place" (cf. O.Fris. grund, Du. grond, Ger. Grund "ground, soil, bottom;" O.N. grunn "a shallow place, grund "field, plain," grunnr
"bottom"). No known cognates outside Gmc. Sense of "reason, motive" first attested c.1200; electrical sense is from 1870. Grounds "residue at the bottom of a liquid" (mid-14c.) is perhaps from past tense of grind (q.v.). Meaning "deny privileges" is 1940s, originally a punishment meted out to pilots (in which sense it is attested from 1931). Ground-hog is attested from 1784; Ground Hog Day first recorded 1871, Amer.Eng. Groundwork (c.1550) is originally "the solid base on which a structure is built;" fig. sense is from 1550s. Groundling "theater patron in the pit" is from c.1600, from the beginning emblematic of bad or unsophisticated taste.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
ground   (ground)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A connection between an electrical conductor and the Earth. Grounds are used to establish a common zero-voltage reference for electric devices in order to prevent potentially dangerous voltages from arising between them and other objects. Also called earth.

  2. The set of shared points in an electrical circuit at which the measured voltage is taken to be zero. The ground is usually connected directly to the power supply and acts as a common "sink" for current flowing through the components in the circuit.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Bible Dictionary

Grind definition

(Ex. 32:20; Deut. 9:21; Judg. 16:21), to crush small (Heb. tahan); to oppress the poor (Isa. 3:5). The hand-mill was early used by the Hebrews (Num. 11:8). It consisted of two stones, the upper (Deut. 24:6; 2 Sam. 11:21) being movable and slightly concave, the lower being stationary. The grinders mentioned Eccl. 12:3 are the teeth. (See MILL.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with ground, also see both feet on the ground; break ground; common ground; cover ground; cover the field (ground); cut the ground from under; down to the ground; ear to the ground; from the ground up; gain ground; get off the ground; give ground; happy hunting ground; hit the ground running; lose ground; on one's home ground; run into the ground; run to earth (ground); stamping ground; stand one's ground; worship the ground someone walks on.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Ground zero is no longer the depressing place it was a few years ago.
Fresh bread will soon be baking high above ground zero.
It can be used in manufacturing and to help bring up oil from the ground.
Oil has also washed up on a nearby island that seabirds and turtles use as a
  nesting ground.
Image for ground
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