Entries linking to aground
prefix or inseparable particle, a relic of various Germanic and Latin elements.
In words derived from Old English, it commonly represents Old English an "on, in, into" (see on (prep.)), as in alive, above, asleep, aback, abroad, afoot, ashore, ahead, abed, aside, obsolete arank "in rank and file," etc., forming adjectives and adverbs from nouns, with the notion "in, at; engaged in." In this use it is identical to a (2).
It also can represent Middle English of (prep.) "off, from," as in anew, afresh, akin, abreast. Or it can be a reduced form of the Old English past participle prefix ge-, as in aware.
Or it can be the Old English intensive a-, originally ar- (cognate with German er- and probably implying originally "motion away from"), as in abide, arise, awake, ashamed, marking a verb as momentary, a single event. Such words sometimes were refashioned in early modern English as though the prefix were Latin (accursed, allay, affright are examples).
In words from Romanic languages, often it represents reduced forms of Latin ad "to, toward; for" (see ad-), or ab "from, away, off" (see ab-); both of which by about 7c. had been reduced to a in the ancestor of Old French. In a few cases it represents Latin ex.
[I]t naturally happened that all these a- prefixes were at length confusedly lumped together in idea, and the resultant a- looked upon as vaguely intensive, rhetorical, euphonic, or even archaic, and wholly otiose. [OED]
Old English grund "bottom; foundation; surface of the earth," also "abyss, Hell," and "bottom of the sea" (a sense preserved in run aground), from Proto-Germanic *grundu-, which seems to have meant "deep place" (source also of Old Frisian, Old Saxon, Danish, Swedish grund, Dutch grond, Old High German grunt, German Grund "ground, soil, bottom;" Old Norse grunn "a shallow place," grund "field, plain," grunnr "bottom"). No known cognates outside Germanic.
Sense of "reason, motive" first attested c. 1200. Meaning "source, origin, cause" is from c. 1400. Electrical sense "connection with the earth" is from 1870 (in telegraphy). Meaning "place where one takes position" is from 1610s; hence stand (one's) ground (1707). To run to ground in fox-hunting is from 1779. Ground rule (1890) originally was a rule designed for a specific playing field (ground or grounds in this sense attested by 1718); by 1953 it had come to mean "a basic rule."
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he ran the ship aground
a ship aground offshore
a boat aground on the beach waiting for the tide to lift it