Definition of grovel verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    grovel

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//ˈɡrɒvl//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɡrɑːvl//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they grovel
    BrE BrE//ˈɡrɒvl//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɡrɑːvl//
     
    he / she / it grovels
    BrE BrE//ˈɡrɒvlz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɡrɑːvlz//
     
    past simple grovelled
    BrE BrE//ˈɡrɒvld//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɡrɑːvld//
     
    past participle grovelled
    BrE BrE//ˈɡrɒvld//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɡrɑːvld//
     
    (especially US English) past simple groveled
    BrE BrE//ˈɡrɒvld//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɡrɑːvld//
     
    (especially US English) past participle groveled
    BrE BrE//ˈɡrɒvld//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɡrɑːvld//
     
    -ing form grovelling
    BrE BrE//ˈɡrɒvlɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɡrɒvlɪŋ//
     
    (especially US English) -ing form groveling
    BrE BrE//ˈɡrɒvlɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɡrɒvlɪŋ//
     
     
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  1. 1[intransitive] grovel (to somebody) (for something) (disapproving) to behave in a very humble way towards somebody who is more important than you or who can give you something you want synonym crawl He went grovelling to her for forgiveness. I’ve made a terrible mistake. Now I have to go back and grovel for my job.
  2. 2[intransitive] + adv./prep. to move along the ground on your hands and knees, especially because you are looking for something She was grovelling around on the floor, looking for her contact lens.
  3. Word Origin Middle English: back-formation from the obsolete adverb grovelling, from obsolete groof, grufe ‘the face or front’ (in the phrase on grufe, from Old Norse á grúfu ‘face downwards’) + the suffix -ling.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: grovel