Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1800-1900
Origin: groveling 'lying face downward' (16-19 centuries), from groof 'on the face' (14-19 centuries), from Old Norse grufu

grovel

verb
     
grov‧el past tense and past participle grovelled, present participle grovelling British English, past tense and past participle groveled, present participle groveling American English
1 [intransitive] to praise someone a lot or behave with a lot of respect towards them because you think that they are important and will be able to help you in some way - used to show disapproval [= crawl]
grovel to
I had to really grovel to the bank manager to get a loan.
2 [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] to move along the ground on your hands and knees:
I saw him grovelling in the road for his hat.
grovelling adjective:
a grovelling apology

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