Language: Old English
Origin: grund


1 noun
Related topics: Nature, Electricity
ground1 S1 W1


a) the surface of the earth
the ground
The leaves were slowly fluttering to the ground.
He lay on the ground and stared up at the sky.
The ground was frozen solid.
above/below/under ground
At night, badgers feed above ground.
These youngsters work 70 metres below ground level.
A raised platform stood 2 metres off the ground.
The air raids were followed by military action on the ground (=on land).
ground troops (=soldiers who fight on land)
b) the soil on and under the surface of the earth:
Dig the ground over in the autumn.
Plant the seeds 2 cm deep in the ground.
The ground was dry, far too dry for growing corn.

area of land

a) [uncountable] an area of land without buildings, fences, woods etc:
The landscape is a mixture of open ground and woodland.
They were standing on the waste ground (=land in a town that is not being used) behind the car park.
b) [countable] British English also grounds [plural] especially American English an area of land or sea that is used for a particular purpose:
fishing grounds
parade/hunting/burial etc ground
These fields served as a hunting ground for the local people.
The rivers are used as dumping grounds for industrial waste.
He is buried in sacred ground.
playground (1)


[plural] the land or gardens surrounding a large building:
We decided to take a stroll in the hotel grounds.



[ plural] a good reason for doing, believing, or saying something
grounds for (doing) something
Mental cruelty can be grounds for divorce.
There are strong grounds for believing his statement.
have grounds to do something
Did the police have reasonable grounds to arrest him?
on moral/legal/medical etc grounds
The proposal was rejected on environmental grounds.
on (the) grounds of something
Flying was ruled out on grounds of cost.
'You're under arrest.' 'On what grounds?'
on the grounds that
We oppose the bill, on the grounds that it discriminates against women.


[uncountable] a subject or area of knowledge:
At meetings, we just keep going over the same ground (=talking about the same things).
His latest movie looks set to break new ground (=introduce new and exciting ideas).
familiar/home ground (=a subject etc that you know something about)
In his latest book, McManus returns to more familiar ground.


[uncountable] a general opinion or set of attitudes:
Often parents and teenagers find they have little common ground (=they do not share the same attitudes etc).
the middle/centre ground (=opinions that are not extreme that most people would agree with)
Both parties are battling to occupy the centre ground.
Careful, Laura. You could be treading on dangerous ground (=expressing opinions etc that might offend someone).
Each side was unwilling to give ground (=change their opinion).


[countable] British English the place where a particular sport is played [↪ stadium]:
a new football ground
It's their first defeat at their home ground (=the ground that belongs to a particular team) all season.

hold/stand your ground

a) to stay where you are when someone threatens you, in order to show them that you are not afraid:
The men threatened him, but he stood his ground and they fled.
b) to refuse to change your mind about something, even though people are opposing you:
Jason vowed to stand his ground, even if it meant losing his job.

get off the ground

to start to be successful:
Her show never really got off the ground in the UK.

gain ground

a) to become more successful:
It was feared that the extreme right would gain ground in the election.
b) if an idea, belief etc gains ground, more people start to accept it:
His theories gradually gained ground among academics.
c) to get closer to someone or something that you are competing with

lose ground

to become less successful compared with someone or something you are competing with:
The Indian team seem determined to regain the ground they lost in the last game.

breeding/fertile/proving ground

a situation in which something develops quickly or successfully:
The region, with its widespread poverty, provided fertile ground for revolutionary activitists.
prepare/lay the ground (=to provide the situation or conditions in which something can develop successfully)
breeding/fertile/proving ground for
My task was to prepare the ground for the recruitment of support workers.

burn/raze something to the ground

to destroy a city, building etc completely by fire, bombs etc:
The city of Tortona was burnt to the ground.

work/drive/run yourself into the ground

to work so hard that you become very tired or ill:
Kay's working herself into the ground trying to meet her deadlines.

on the ground

in the place or situation where something important is happening, rather than somewhere else - used especially in news reports:
While the politicians talk of peace, the situation on the ground remains tense.

stamping ground

British English stomping ground American English informal someone's stamping ground is an area where they are known or have a lot of influence:
I guess he'll try to reach his old stomping ground to drum up support.


[singular] American EnglishTPE a wire that connects a piece of electrical equipment to the ground for safety [= earth British English]


[plural]DFD small pieces of solid material that sink to the bottom of a liquid:
coffee grounds

go to ground

British English to make it hard for people to find you:
The man has gone to ground since his photograph was published in a national newspaper.

run somebody/something to ground

British English to succeed in finding someone or something after a long search


[countable] technical the colour used as the background for a design

➔ cut the ground from under somebody's feet

at cut1 (37)

➔ have/keep both feet on the ground

at foot1 (18)

➔ suit somebody down to the ground

at suit2 (1)

➔ be thin on the ground

at thin1 (12)

➔ hit the ground running

at hit1 (24)

ground, land, earth, soil, floor
The ground is the surface that you walk on when you are outdoors There were a few flakes of snow on the ground. an area of muddy groundland is an area of ground that is owned or controlled by someone They were on his land. land set aside for housing It is also the part of the earth's surface that is not covered in water animals that live on landearth or soil is the soft substance that covers the ground and that plants grow in Green shoots peeped through the earth. fertile soilThe Earth or earth is also the planet that we live on. The floor is the surface that you walk on when you are indoors There's mud all over the floor!

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