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:
Rat \Rat\ (r[a^]t), n. [AS. r[ae]t; akin to D. rat, OHG. rato,
ratta, G. ratte, ratze, OLG. ratta, LG. & Dan. rotte, Sw.
r[*a]tta, F. rat, Ir. & Gael radan, Armor. raz, of unknown
origin. Cf. Raccoon.]
1. (Zool.) One of several species of small rodents of the
genus Rattus (formerly included in Mus) and allied
genera, of the family Muridae, distinguished from mice
primarily by being larger. They infest houses, stores, and
ships, especially the Norway rat, also called brown rat,
(Rattus norvegicus formerly Mus decumanus), the black
rat (Rattus rattus formerly Mus rattus), and the roof
rat (formerly Mus Alexandrinus, now included in Rattus
rattus). These were introduced into America from the Old
World. The white rat used most commonly in laboratories is
primarily a strain derived from Rattus rattus.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
2. A round and tapering mass of hair, or similar material,
used by women to support the puffs and rolls of their
natural hair. [Local, U.S.]
3. One who deserts his party or associates; hence, in the
trades, one who works for lower wages than those
prescribed by a trades union. [Cant]
Note: "It so chanced that, not long after the accession of
the house of Hanover, some of the brown, that is the
German or Norway, rats, were first brought over to this
country (in some timber as is said); and being much
stronger than the black, or, till then, the common,
rats, they in many places quite extirpated the latter.
The word (both the noun and the verb to rat) was first,
as we have seen, leveled at the converts to the
government of George the First, but has by degrees
obtained a wider meaning, and come to be applied to any
sudden and mercenary change in politics." --Lord Mahon.
Bamboo rat (Zool.), any Indian rodent of the genus
Beaver rat, Coast rat. (Zool.) See under Beaver and
Blind rat (Zool.), the mole rat.
Cotton rat (Zool.), a long-haired rat (Sigmodon
hispidus), native of the Southern United States and
Mexico. It makes its nest of cotton and is often injurious
to the crop.
Ground rat. See Ground Pig, under Ground.
Hedgehog rat. See under Hedgehog.
Kangaroo rat (Zool.), the potoroo.
Norway rat (Zool.), the common brown rat. See Rat.
Pouched rat. (Zool.)
(a) See Pocket Gopher, under Pocket.
(b) Any African rodent of the genus Cricetomys.
Rat Indians (Ethnol.), a tribe of Indians dwelling near
Fort Ukon, Alaska. They belong to the Athabascan stock.
Rat mole. (Zool.) See Mole rat, under Mole.
Rat pit, an inclosed space into which rats are put to be
killed by a dog for sport.
Rat snake (Zool.), a large colubrine snake (Ptyas
mucosus) very common in India and Ceylon. It enters
dwellings, and destroys rats, chickens, etc.
Spiny rat (Zool.), any South American rodent of the genus
To smell a rat. See under Smell.
Wood rat (Zool.), any American rat of the genus Neotoma,
especially Neotoma Floridana, common in the Southern
United States. Its feet and belly are white.