The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
ground \ground\ (ground), n. [OE. ground, grund, AS. grund; akin
to D. grond, OS., G., Sw., & Dan. grund, Icel. grunnr bottom,
Goth. grundus (in composition); perh. orig. meaning, dust,
gravel, and if so perh. akin to E. grind.]
1. The surface of the earth; the outer crust of the globe, or
some indefinite portion of it.
There was not a man to till the ground. --Gen. ii.
The fire ran along upon the ground. --Ex. ix. 23.
Hence: A floor or pavement supposed to rest upon the
2. Any definite portion of the earth's surface; region;
territory; country. Hence: A territory appropriated to, or
resorted to, for a particular purpose; the field or place
of action; as, a hunting or fishing ground; a play ground.
From . . . old Euphrates, to the brook that parts
Egypt from Syrian ground. --Milton.
3. Land; estate; possession; field; esp. (pl.), the gardens,
lawns, fields, etc., belonging to a homestead; as, the
grounds of the estate are well kept.
Thy next design is on thy neighbor's grounds.
4. The basis on which anything rests; foundation. Hence: The
foundation of knowledge, belief, or conviction; a premise,
reason, or datum; ultimate or first principle; cause of
existence or occurrence; originating force or agency; as,
the ground of my hope.
5. (Paint. & Decorative Art)
(a) That surface upon which the figures of a composition
are set, and which relieves them by its plainness,
being either of one tint or of tints but slightly
contrasted with one another; as, crimson Bowers on a
white ground. See Background, Foreground, and
(b) In sculpture, a flat surface upon which figures are
raised in relief.
(c) In point lace, the net of small meshes upon which the
embroidered pattern is applied; as, Brussels ground.
See Brussels lace, under Brussels.
6. (Etching) A gummy composition spread over the surface of a
metal to be etched, to prevent the acid from eating except
where an opening is made by the needle.
7. (Arch.) One of the pieces of wood, flush with the
plastering, to which moldings, etc., are attached; --
usually in the plural.
Note: Grounds are usually put up first and the plastering
floated flush with them.
(a) A composition in which the bass, consisting of a few
bars of independent notes, is continually repeated to
a varying melody.
(b) The tune on which descants are raised; the plain song.
On that ground I'll build a holy descant.
9. (Elec.) A conducting connection with the earth, whereby
the earth is made part of an electrical circuit.
10. pl. Sediment at the bottom of liquors or liquids; dregs;
lees; feces; as, coffee grounds.
11. The pit of a theater. [Obs.] --B. Jonson.
Ground angling, angling with a weighted line without a
Ground annual (Scots Law), an estate created in land by a
vassal who instead of selling his land outright reserves
an annual ground rent, which becomes a perpetual charge
upon the land.
Ground ash. (Bot.) See Groutweed.
Ground bailiff (Mining), a superintendent of mines.
Ground bait, bits of bread, boiled barley or worms, etc.,
thrown into the water to collect the fish, --Wallon.
Ground bass or Ground base (Mus.), fundamental base; a
fundamental base continually repeated to a varied melody.
Ground beetle (Zool.), one of numerous species of
carnivorous beetles of the family Carabid[ae], living
mostly in burrows or under stones, etc.
Ground chamber, a room on the ground floor.
Ground cherry. (Bot.)
(a) A genus (Physalis) of herbaceous plants having an
inflated calyx for a seed pod: esp., the strawberry
tomato (Physalis Alkekengi). See Alkekengl.
(b) A European shrub (Prunus Cham[ae]cerasus), with
small, very acid fruit.
Ground cuckoo. (Zool.) See Chaparral cock.
Ground cypress. (Bot.) See Lavender cotton.
Ground dove (Zool.), one of several small American pigeons
of the genus Columbigallina, esp. C. passerina of the
Southern United States, Mexico, etc. They live chiefly on
Ground fish (Zool.), any fish which constantly lives on the
botton of the sea, as the sole, turbot, halibut.
Ground floor, the floor of a house most nearly on a level
with the ground; -- called also in America, but not in
England, the first floor.
Ground form (Gram.), the stem or basis of a word, to which
the other parts are added in declension or conjugation. It
is sometimes, but not always, the same as the root.
Ground furze (Bot.), a low slightly thorny, leguminous
shrub (Ononis arvensis) of Europe and Central Asia,; --
called also rest-harrow.
Ground game, hares, rabbits, etc., as distinguished from
Ground hele (Bot.), a perennial herb (Veronica
officinalis) with small blue flowers, common in Europe
and America, formerly thought to have curative properties.
Ground of the heavens (Astron.), the surface of any part of
the celestial sphere upon which the stars may be regarded
Ground hemlock (Bot.), the yew (Taxus baccata var.
Canadensisi) of eastern North America, distinguished from
that of Europe by its low, straggling stems.
Ground hog. (Zool.)
(a) The woodchuck or American marmot (Arctomys monax).
(b) The aardvark.
Ground hold (Naut.), ground tackle. [Obs.] --Spenser.
Ground ice, ice formed at the bottom of a body of water
before it forms on the surface.
Ground ivy. (Bot.) A trailing plant; alehoof. See Gill.
Ground joist, a joist for a basement or ground floor; a.
Ground lark (Zool.), the European pipit. See Pipit.
Ground laurel (Bot.). See Trailing arbutus, under
Ground line (Descriptive Geom.), the line of intersection
of the horizontal and vertical planes of projection.
Ground liverwort (Bot.), a flowerless plant with a broad
flat forking thallus and the fruit raised on peduncled and
radiated receptacles (Marchantia polymorpha).
Ground mail, in Scotland, the fee paid for interment in a
Ground mass (Geol.), the fine-grained or glassy base of a
rock, in which distinct crystals of its constituents are
Ground parrakeet (Zool.), one of several Australian
parrakeets, of the genera Callipsittacus and
Geopsittacus, which live mainly upon the ground.
Ground pearl (Zool.), an insect of the family Coccid[ae]
(Margarodes formicarum), found in ants' nests in the
Bahamas, and having a shelly covering. They are strung
like beads, and made into necklaces by the natives.
Ground pig (Zool.), a large, burrowing, African rodent
(Aulacodus Swinderianus) about two feet long, allied to
the porcupines but with harsh, bristly hair, and no
spines; -- called also ground rat.
Ground pigeon (Zool.), one of numerous species of pigeons
which live largely upon the ground, as the tooth-billed
pigeon (Didunculus strigirostris), of the Samoan
Islands, and the crowned pigeon, or goura. See Goura,
and Ground dove (above).
Ground pine. (Bot.)
(a) A blue-flowered herb of the genus Ajuga (A.
Cham[ae]pitys), formerly included in the genus
Teucrium or germander, and named from its resinous
smell. --Sir J. Hill.
(b) A long, creeping, evergreen plant of the genus
Lycopodium (L. clavatum); -- called also club
(c) A tree-shaped evergreen plant about eight inches in
height, of the same genus (L. dendroideum) found in
moist, dark woods in the northern part of the United
Ground plan (Arch.), a plan of the ground floor of any
building, or of any floor, as distinguished from an
elevation or perpendicular section.
Ground plane, the horizontal plane of projection in
(a) (Arch.) One of the chief pieces of framing of a
building; a timber laid horizontally on or near the
ground to support the uprights; a ground sill or
(b) (Railroads) A bed plate for sleepers or ties; a
(c) (Teleg.) A metallic plate buried in the earth to
conduct the electric current thereto. Connection to
the pipes of a gas or water main is usual in cities.
Ground plot, the ground upon which any structure is
erected; hence, any basis or foundation; also, a ground
Ground plum (Bot.), a leguminous plant (Astragalus
caryocarpus) occurring from the Saskatchewan to Texas,
and having a succulent plum-shaped pod.
Ground rat. (Zool.) See Ground pig (above).
Ground rent, rent paid for the privilege of building on
another man's land.
Ground robin. (Zool.) See Chewink.
Ground room, a room on the ground floor; a lower room.
Ground sea, the West Indian name for a swell of the ocean,
which occurs in calm weather and without obvious cause,
breaking on the shore in heavy roaring billows; -- called
also rollers, and in Jamaica, the North sea.
Ground sill. See Ground plate (a) (above).
Ground snake (Zool.), a small burrowing American snake
(Celuta am[oe]na). It is salmon colored, and has a blunt
Ground squirrel. (Zool.)
(a) One of numerous species of burrowing rodents of the
genera Tamias and Spermophilus, having cheek
pouches. The former genus includes the Eastern
striped squirrel or chipmunk and some allied Western
species; the latter includes the prairie squirrel or
striped gopher, the gray gopher, and many allied
Western species. See Chipmunk, and Gopher.
(b) Any species of the African genus Xerus, allied to
Ground story. Same as Ground floor (above).
Ground substance (Anat.), the intercellular substance, or
matrix, of tissues.
(a) (Bot.) The plant groundsel. [Obs.] --Holland.
(b) A broad, deep swell or undulation of the ocean,
caused by a long continued gale, and felt even at a
remote distance after the gale has ceased.
Ground table. (Arch.) See Earth table, under Earth.
Ground tackle (Naut.), the tackle necessary to secure a
vessel at anchor. --Totten.
Ground thrush (Zool.), one of numerous species of
bright-colored Oriental birds of the family Pittid[ae].
(a) The lowest tier of water casks in a vessel's hold.
(b) The lowest line of articles of any kind stowed in a
(c) The lowest range of boxes in a theater.
Ground timbers (Shipbuilding) the timbers which lie on the
keel and are bolted to the keelson; floor timbers.
Ground tit. (Zool.) See Ground wren (below).
Ground wheel, that wheel of a harvester, mowing machine,
etc., which, rolling on the ground, drives the mechanism.
Ground wren (Zool.), a small California bird (Cham[ae]a
fasciata) allied to the wrens and titmice. It inhabits
the arid plains. Called also ground tit, and wren tit.
To bite the ground, To break ground. See under Bite,
To come to the ground, To fall to the ground, to come to
nothing; to fail; to miscarry.
To gain ground.
(a) To advance; to proceed forward in conflict; as, an
army in battle gains ground.
(b) To obtain an advantage; to have some success; as, the
army gains ground on the enemy.
(c) To gain credit; to become more prosperous or
To get ground, or To gather ground, to gain ground. [R.]
"Evening mist . . . gathers ground fast." --Milton.
There is no way for duty to prevail, and get ground
of them, but by bidding higher. --South.
To give ground, to recede; to yield advantage.
These nine . . . began to give me ground. --Shak.
To lose ground, to retire; to retreat; to withdraw from the
position taken; hence, to lose advantage; to lose credit
or reputation; to decline.
To stand one's ground, to stand firm; to resist attack or
To take the ground to touch bottom or become stranded; --
said of a ship.
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Break \Break\ (br[=a]k), v. t. [imp. broke (br[=o]k), (Obs.
Brake); p. p. Broken (br[=o]"k'n), (Obs. Broke); p. pr.
& vb. n. Breaking.] [OE. breken, AS. brecan; akin to OS.
brekan, D. breken, OHG. brehhan, G. brechen, Icel. braka to
creak, Sw. braka, br[aum]kka to crack, Dan. br[ae]kke to
break, Goth. brikan to break, L. frangere. Cf. Bray to
pound, Breach, Fragile.]
1. To strain apart; to sever by fracture; to divide with
violence; as, to break a rope or chain; to break a seal;
to break an axle; to break rocks or coal; to break a lock.
2. To lay open as by breaking; to divide; as, to break a
package of goods.
3. To lay open, as a purpose; to disclose, divulge, or
Katharine, break thy mind to me. --Shak.
4. To infringe or violate, as an obligation, law, or promise.
Out, out, hyena! these are thy wonted arts . . .
To break all faith, all vows, deceive, betray.
5. To interrupt; to destroy the continuity of; to dissolve or
terminate; as, to break silence; to break one's sleep; to
break one's journey.
Go, release them, Ariel;
My charms I'll break, their senses I'll restore.
6. To destroy the completeness of; to remove a part from; as,
to break a set.
7. To destroy the arrangement of; to throw into disorder; to
pierce; as, the cavalry were not able to break the British
8. To shatter to pieces; to reduce to fragments.
The victim broke in pieces the musical instruments
with which he had solaced the hours of captivity.
9. To exchange for other money or currency of smaller
denomination; as, to break a five dollar bill.
10. To destroy the strength, firmness, or consistency of; as,
to break flax.
11. To weaken or impair, as health, spirit, or mind.
An old man, broken with the storms of state.
12. To diminish the force of; to lessen the shock of, as a
fall or blow.
I'll rather leap down first, and break your fall.
13. To impart, as news or information; to broach; -- with to,
and often with a modified word implying some reserve; as,
to break the news gently to the widow; to break a purpose
cautiously to a friend.
14. To tame; to reduce to subjection; to make tractable; to
discipline; as, to break a horse to the harness or
saddle. "To break a colt." --Spenser.
Why, then thou canst not break her to the lute?
15. To destroy the financial credit of; to make bankrupt; to
With arts like these rich Matho, when he speaks,
Attracts all fees, and little lawyers breaks.
16. To destroy the official character and standing of; to
cashier; to dismiss.
I see a great officer broken. --Swift.
Note: With prepositions or adverbs:
To break down.
(a) To crush; to overwhelm; as, to break down one's
strength; to break down opposition.
(b) To remove, or open a way through, by breaking; as, to
break down a door or wall.
To break in.
(a) To force in; as, to break in a door.
(b) To train; to discipline; as, a horse well broken in.
To break of, to rid of; to cause to abandon; as, to break
one of a habit.
To break off.
(a) To separate by breaking; as, to break off a twig.
(b) To stop suddenly; to abandon. "Break off thy sins by
righteousness." --Dan. iv. 27.
To break open, to open by breaking. "Open the door, or I
will break it open." --Shak.
To break out, to take or force out by breaking; as, to
break out a pane of glass.
To break out a cargo, to unstow a cargo, so as to unload it
To break through.
(a) To make an opening through, as, as by violence or the
force of gravity; to pass violently through; as, to
break through the enemy's lines; to break through the
(b) To disregard; as, to break through the ceremony.
To break up.
(a) To separate into parts; to plow (new or fallow
ground). "Break up this capon." --Shak. "Break up
your fallow ground." --Jer. iv. 3.
(b) To dissolve; to put an end to. "Break up the court."
To break (one) all up, to unsettle or disconcert
completely; to upset. [Colloq.]
Note: With an immediate object:
To break the back.
(a) To dislocate the backbone; hence, to disable totally.
(b) To get through the worst part of; as, to break the
back of a difficult undertaking.
To break bulk, to destroy the entirety of a load by
removing a portion of it; to begin to unload; also, to
transfer in detail, as from boats to cars.
To break a code to discover a method to convert coded
messages into the original understandable text.
To break cover, to burst forth from a protecting
concealment, as game when hunted.
To break a deer or To break a stag, to cut it up and
apportion the parts among those entitled to a share.
To break fast, to partake of food after abstinence. See
To break ground.
(a) To open the earth as for planting; to commence
excavation, as for building, siege operations, and
the like; as, to break ground for a foundation, a
canal, or a railroad.
(b) Fig.: To begin to execute any plan.
(c) (Naut.) To release the anchor from the bottom.
To break the heart, to crush or overwhelm (one) with grief.
To break a house (Law), to remove or set aside with
violence and a felonious intent any part of a house or of
the fastenings provided to secure it.
To break the ice, to get through first difficulties; to
overcome obstacles and make a beginning; to introduce a
To break jail, to escape from confinement in jail, usually
by forcible means.
To break a jest, to utter a jest. "Patroclus . . . the
livelong day breaks scurril jests." --Shak.
To break joints, to lay or arrange bricks, shingles, etc.,
so that the joints in one course shall not coincide with
those in the preceding course.
To break a lance, to engage in a tilt or contest.
To break the neck, to dislocate the joints of the neck.
To break no squares, to create no trouble. [Obs.]
To break a path, road, etc., to open a way through
obstacles by force or labor.
To break upon a wheel, to execute or torture, as a criminal
by stretching him upon a wheel, and breaking his limbs
with an iron bar; -- a mode of punishment formerly
employed in some countries.
To break wind, to give vent to wind from the anus.
Syn: To dispart; rend; tear; shatter; batter; violate;
infringe; demolish; destroy; burst; dislocate.