Meaning of GROUND in English


I. ground 1 S1 W1 /ɡraʊnd/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ ground , ↑ underground , ↑ grounding , GROUNDS ; adjective : goundless, ↑ underground ≠ ↑ overground , ↑ grounded ; verb : ↑ ground ; adverb : ↑ underground ]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: grund ]

1 . EARTH [uncountable]

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 two 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.


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] ( also grounds [plural] ) 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)

c) grounds [plural] the land or gardens surrounding a large building:

We decided to take a stroll in the hotel grounds.

3 . REASON 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.

4 . SUBJECT [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.

5 . OPINION [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) .

6 . SPORT [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.

7 . 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.

8 . get off the ground to start to be successful:

Her show never really got off the ground in the UK.

9 . 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

10 . 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.

11 . breeding/fertile/proving ground a situation in which something develops quickly or successfully:

The region, with its widespread poverty, provided fertile ground for revolutionary activists.

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.

12 . 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.

13 . 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.

14 . 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.

15 . 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.

16 . ELECTRICAL [singular] American English a wire that connects a piece of electrical equipment to the ground for safety SYN earth British English

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

coffee grounds

18 . 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.

19 . run somebody/something to ground British English to succeed in finding someone or something after a long search

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

⇨ cut the ground from under sb’s feet at ↑ cut 1 (37), ⇨ have/keep both feet on the ground at ↑ foot 1 (18), ⇨ suit somebody down to the ground at ↑ suit 2 (1), ⇨ be thin on the ground at ↑ thin 1 (12), ⇨ hit the ground running at ↑ hit 1 (24)

• • •


▪ the ground the surface of the earth, or the soil on its surface:

He collapsed and fell to the ground.


The ground was wet and muddy.

▪ the ocean/forest/cave etc floor the ground at the bottom of the ocean, a forest, a cave etc:

Many wonderful creatures live on the ocean floor.

▪ land used when talking about an area of ground that is owned by someone, or is used for an activity. Also used when talking about the part of the earth’s surface that is not covered with water:

His family owns a lot of land.


agricultural land


She got off the ferry, happy to be back on dry land.

▪ terrain a type of land – used when talking about how easy an area of land is to cross, and whether it is rocky, flat etc:

The Land Rover is built to go over rough terrain.


The terrain gets flatter when you go further south.

▪ earth/soil the substance that plants grow in:

The vegetables were still covered in black soil.

▪ mud wet earth:

Your shoes are covered in mud.

II. ground 2 BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ ground , ↑ underground , ↑ grounding , GROUNDS ; adjective : goundless, ↑ underground ≠ ↑ overground , ↑ grounded ; verb : ↑ ground ; adverb : ↑ underground ]

1 . AIRCRAFT [transitive usually passive] to stop an aircraft or pilot from flying:

All planes are grounded until the fog clears.

2 . BOAT [intransitive and transitive] if you ground a boat or if it grounds, it hits the bottom of the sea so that it cannot move:

Both boats grounded on a mud bank.

3 . be grounded in/on something to be based on something:

Lewis’ ideas were grounded in his Christian faith.

4 . CHILD [transitive] informal to stop a child going out with their friends as a punishment for behaving badly:

I got home at 2 am and Dad grounded me on the spot.

5 . ELECTRICITY [transitive] American English to make a piece of electrical equipment safe by connecting it to the ground with a wire SYN earth British English

⇨ ↑ well-grounded

ground somebody in something phrasal verb

to teach someone the basic things they should know in order to be able to do something:

Most seven-year-olds are grounded in the basics of reading and writing.

III. ground 3 BrE AmE adjective [only before noun]

ground coffee or nuts have been broken up into powder or very small pieces, using a special machine ⇨ grind

IV. ground 4 BrE AmE

the past tense and past participle of ↑ grind 1

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.