Etymology
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grope (v.)

late Old English grapian "to feel about (as one blind or in darkness)," also "take hold of, seize, touch, attain," related to gripan "grasp at" (see gripe (v.)). Transitive sense "search out by sense of touch alone" was in late Old English. Figurative sense is from early 14c. Indecent sense "touch (someone) amorously, play with, fondle" (marked as "obsolete" in OED 2nd edition) is from c. 1200. Related: Groped; groping.

grope (n.)

c. 1500, "act of groping," from grope (v.). Old English had grap "a grasp."

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Definitions of grope
1
grope (v.)
feel about uncertainly or blindly;
She groped for her glasses in the darkness of the bedroom
Synonyms: fumble
grope (v.)
search blindly or uncertainly;
His mind groped to make the connection
grope (v.)
fondle for sexual pleasure;
He made some sexual advances at the woman in his office and groped her repeatedly
2
grope (n.)
the act of groping; and instance of groping;
From wordnet.princeton.edu