American English

Definition of ground noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    see also grind
    jump to other results
    surface of earth
  1. 1the ground [uncountable] the solid surface of the earth I found her lying on the ground. He lost his balance and fell to the ground. 6 feet above/below ground Most of the monkeys' food is found at ground level. ground forces (= soldiers that fight on land, not in the air or at sea) Houses and a luxury tourist hotel burned to the ground (= were completely destroyed, so that there was nothing left). Thesaurusfloorground land earthThese are all words for the surface that you walk on.floor the surface of a room that you walk on:She was sitting on the floor watching TV.ground (often the ground) the solid surface of the earth that you walk on:I found her lying on the ground. The rocket crashed a few seconds after it left the the surface of the earth that is not sea:It was good to be back on dry land again. They fought both on land and at (often the earth) the solid surface of the world that is made of rock, soil, sand, etc.:You could feel the earth shake as the truck came closer.ground, land, or earth?Ground is the normal word for the solid surface that you walk on when you are not in a building or vehicle. You can use earth if you want to draw attention to the rock, soil, etc. that the ground is made of. Land is used only when you want to contrast it with the sea:the land beneath our feet feel the land shake travel by ground/earthPatterns on/under the floor/ground/earth bare floor/ground/earth to drop to/fall to the floor/the ground/(the) earth to reach the floor/the ground/land
  2. soil
  3. 2[uncountable] soil on the surface of the earth fertile ground for planting crops Thesaurussoildirt mud dust clay land earth groundThese are all words for the top layer of the earth in which plants grow.soil the top layer of the earth in which plants grow:Plant the seedlings in damp soil.dirt soil, especially loose soil:Pack the dirt firmly around the plants.mud wet soil that is soft and sticky:The car got stuck in the mud.dust a fine powder that consists of very small pieces of rock, earth, etc:A cloud of dust rose as the truck pulled away.clay a type of heavy sticky soil that becomes hard when it is baked and is used to make things such as pots and bricks:The tiles are made of an area of ground, especially of a particular type:an area of rich, fertile landearth the substance that plants grow in or where people are buried after they dieground an area of soil:The ground was still wet from the rain. They drove across miles of rough, rocky ground. Ground is not used for loose soil:a handful of dry groundPatterns good/rich soil/land/earth fertile/infertile soil/land/ground to dig (at/in) the soil/mud/clay/land/earth/ground to cultivate/plow the soil/land/earth
  4. area of land
  5. 3[uncountable] an area of open land The kids were playing on some open ground behind the school.
  6. 4[countable] (often in compounds) an area of land that is used for a particular purpose or activity ancient burial grounds see also breeding ground, dumping ground, parade ground, stomping ground, testing ground, land
  7. 5grounds [plural] a large area of land or ocean that is used for a particular purpose fishing grounds feeding grounds for birds
  8. gardens
  9. 6grounds [plural] the land or lawn around a large building the hospital grounds The house has extensive grounds.
  10. area of knowledge/ideas
  11. 7[uncountable] an area of interest, knowledge, or ideas He managed to cover a lot of ground in a short talk. We had to go over the same ground (= talk about the same things again) in class the next day. You're on dangerous ground (= talking about ideas that are likely to offend someone or make people angry) if you criticize his family. I thought I was on safe ground (= talking about a suitable subject) discussing music with her. He was back on familiar ground, dealing with the customers. They are fighting the Republicans on their own ground. see also common ground, middle ground
  12. good reason
  13. 8[countable, usually plural] ground for something/for doing something a good or true reason for saying, doing, or believing something You have no grounds for your accusation. What were his grounds for wanting a divorce? The case was dismissed on the grounds that there was not enough evidence. He left the job but feels he deserves compensation from his employer on medical grounds. Employers cannot discriminate on the grounds of age. Thesaurusreasonexplanation grounds basis excuse motive justification pretextThese are all words for a cause or an explanation for something that has happened or that someone has done.reason a cause or an explanation for something that has happened or that someone has done; a fact that makes it right or fair to do something:She refused our request, but she didn't give a reason.explanation a statement, fact, or situation that tells you why something has happened; a reason given for something:The most likely explanation is that his plane was delayed. She left the room abruptly without explanation.grounds (somewhat formal) a good or true reason for saying, doing, or believing something:You have no grounds for your accusation.basis (somewhat formal) the reason why people make a particular choice:On what basis will this decision be made?excuse a reason, either true or invented, that you give to explain or defend your behavior; a good reason that you give for doing something that you want to do for other reasons:Late again! What's your excuse this time? It gave me an excuse to drive instead of walking.motive a reason that explains someone's behavior:There seemed to be no motive for the murder.justification (somewhat formal) a good reason why something exists or is done:I can see no possible justification for any further tax increases.grounds or justification?Justification is used to talk about finding or understanding reasons for actions, or trying to explain why it is a good idea to do something. It is often used with words like little, no, some, every, without, and not any. Grounds is used more for talking about reasons that already exist, or that have already been decided, for example by law:moral/economic grounds.pretext (somewhat formal) a false reason that you give for doing something, usually something bad, in order to hide the real reason:He left the party early on the pretext of having to work.Patterns (a/an) reason/explanation/grounds/basis/excuse/motive/justification/pretext for something the reason/motive behind something on the grounds/basis/pretext >of/that…> (a) valid reason/explanation/grounds/excuse/motive/justification a good reason/explanation/basis/excuse/motive
  14. in liquid
  15. 9grounds [plural] the small pieces of solid matter (= a substance) in a liquid that have fallen to the bottom coffee grounds
  16. electrical wire
  17. 10[countable, usually singular] a wire that connects an electric circuit with the ground and makes it safe
  18. background
  19. 11[countable] a background that a design is painted or printed on pink roses on a white ground
  20. Idioms
    be on firm ground
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    to be in a strong position in an argument, etc. because you know the facts Everyone agreed with me, so I knew I was on firm ground.
    be riveted to the spot/ground
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    to be so shocked or frightened that you cannot move
    break new ground
    jump to other results
    to make a new discovery or do something that has not been done before see also ground‧break‧ing
    fall on stony ground
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    to fail to produce the result or the effect that you hope for; to have little success His charming smile fell on stony ground with her. The peace initiatives have already fallen on stony ground.
    gain ground
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    to become more powerful or successful The Republican candidate appears to be gaining ground this week.
    gain/make up ground (on somebody/something)
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    to gradually get closer to someone or something that is moving or making progress in an activity The police car was gaining ground on the suspects. They needed to make up ground on their competitors.
    get (something) off the ground
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    to start happening successfully; to make something start happening successfully Without more money, the production is unlikely to get off the ground. to get a new company off the ground
    give/lose ground (to somebody/something)
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    to allow someone to have an advantage; to lose an advantage for yourself They are not prepared to give ground on tax cuts. The Democrats lost a lot of ground to the Republicans in several state elections.
    have/keep your feet on the ground
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    to have a sensible and realistic attitude to life In spite of his overnight stardom he still manages to keep his feet on the ground.
    hit the deck/dirt/ground (informal)
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    to fall to the ground
    hit the ground running (informal)
    jump to other results
    to start doing something and continue very quickly and successfully
      hold/stand your ground
      jump to other results
    1. 1to continue with your opinions or intentions when someone is opposing you and wants you to change Don't let him persuade you—stand your ground.
    2. 2to face a situation and refuse to run away It is not easy to hold your ground in front of someone with a gun.
    keep/have your ear to the ground
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    to make sure that you always find out about the most recent developments in a particular situation The agent had no suitable properties available, but promised to keep an ear to the ground for us.
    on the ground
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    in the place where something is happening and among the people who are in the situation, especially a war On the ground, there are hopes that the fighting will soon stop. There's a lot of support for the policy on the ground.
    on neutral ground/territory
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    in a place that has no connection with either of the people or sides who are meeting and so does not give an advantage to either of them We decided to meet on neutral ground.
    prepare the ground (for something)
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    to make it possible or easier for something to be achieved The committee will prepare the ground for further investigation of the issue.
    run somebody/something into the ground
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    to use something so much that it is broken; to make someone work so hard that they are no longer able to work
    run/drive/work yourself into the ground
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    to work so hard that you become extremely tired
    shift your ground (usually disapproving)
    jump to other results
    to change your opinion about a subject, especially during a discussion
    take, claim, seize, etc. the moral high ground
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    to claim that your side of an argument is morally better than your opponent's side; to argue in a way that makes your side seem morally better
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: ground