Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia.


 (grŏv′əl, grŭv′-)
intr.v. grov·eled, grov·el·ing, grov·els also grov·elled or grov·el·ling
1. To behave in a servile or obsequious manner.
2. To lie or creep in a prostrate position, as in subservience or humility.
3. To give oneself over to base pleasures: "Have we not groveled here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?" (Walt Whitman).

[Back-formation from obsolete groveling, prone, face downward, from Middle English : (on) grufe, face downwards (from Old Norse ā grūfu, from grūfa, to grovel) + -ling, adv. suff.; see -ling2.]

grov′el·er n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.groveler - someone who humbles himself as a sign of respectgroveler - someone who humbles himself as a sign of respect; who behaves as if he had no self-respect
ass-kisser, crawler, sycophant, toady, lackey - a person who tries to please someone in order to gain a personal advantage
References in classic literature ?
March, with his respectable legs in the air, and beside him, likewise prone, was Demi, trying to imitate the attitude with his own short, scarlet-stockinged legs, both grovelers so seriously absorbed that they were unconscious of spectators, till Mr.
To every dirigiste groveler who has wrapped himself in Clio's mantle since 9/11, Taylor's worldview offers a standing reproach: "You should never," he warned, "ask a historian to predict the future--we have enough trouble predicting the past.
As a belly-aching, bridge-burning, pride-swallowing, short-sighted, table-turning, thread-hanging groveler, Daughtry comes to the harsh realization, "Just like that/I'm crawling back to you/Just like you said I would, yeah.