Etymology
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ground (n.)

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."

ground (v.)

mid-13c., "to put on the ground, to strike down to the ground;" late 14c., "lay the foundation of," also, figuratively, "to base" (an argument, sermon, etc.), from ground (n.). Meaning "instruct thoroughly in the basics" is from late 14c. Of ships, "to run into the ground," from mid-15c. (intransitive), transitive sense from 1650s. Of arms, from 1711. Electrical sense from 1881. Meaning "deny privileges" is 1940s, originally a punishment meted out to pilots (in which sense it is attested from 1930). In the sense "establish firmly" Old English had grundweallian, grundstaðelian; also gryndan "descend," gegryndan "to found."

ground (adj.)

"reduced to fine particles by grinding," 1765, past-participle adjective from grind (v.).

updated on December 15, 2018

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Definitions of ground from WordNet
1
ground (v.)
fix firmly and stably;
Synonyms: anchor
ground (v.)
confine or restrict to the ground;
After the accident, they grounded the plane and the pilot
ground (v.)
place or put on the ground;
ground (v.)
instruct someone in the fundamentals of a subject;
ground (v.)
bring to the ground;
the storm grounded the ship
Synonyms: strand / run aground
ground (v.)
hit or reach the ground;
Synonyms: run aground
ground (v.)
throw to the ground in order to stop play and avoid being tackled behind the line of scrimmage;
ground (v.)
hit a groundball;
he grounded to the second baseman
ground (v.)
hit onto the ground;
ground (v.)
cover with a primer; apply a primer to;
Synonyms: prime / undercoat
ground (v.)
connect to a ground;
ground the electrical connections for safety reasons
ground (v.)
use as a basis for; found on;
Synonyms: establish / base / found
2
ground (n.)
the solid part of the earth's surface;
he dropped the logs on the ground
Synonyms: land / dry land / earth / solid ground / terra firma
ground (n.)
a rational motive for a belief or action;
the grounds for their declaration
Synonyms: reason
ground (n.)
the loose soft material that makes up a large part of the land surface;
Synonyms: earth
ground (n.)
a relation that provides the foundation for something;
Synonyms: footing / basis
ground (n.)
a position to be won or defended in battle (or as if in battle);
they gained ground step by step
they fought to regain the lost ground
ground (n.)
the part of a scene (or picture) that lies behind objects in the foreground;
Synonyms: background
ground (n.)
material in the top layer of the surface of the earth in which plants can grow (especially with reference to its quality or use);
Synonyms: land / soil
ground (n.)
a relatively homogeneous percept extending back of the figure on which attention is focused;
ground (n.)
a connection between an electrical device and a large conducting body, such as the earth (which is taken to be at zero voltage);
Synonyms: earth
ground (n.)
(art) the surface (as a wall or canvas) prepared to take the paint for a painting;
ground (n.)
the first or preliminary coat of paint or size applied to a surface;
Synonyms: flat coat / primer / priming / primer coat / priming coat / undercoat
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.