ground, n.Pronunciation: /ɡraʊnd/
Forms: OE–ME (15– Sc.) grund, ME–15 grond, (ME gronnde), ME–16 grounde, ME grownd(e, (ME grount, growende, 15 growinde, groune, 16 grown), ME– ground.
Etymology: Common Germanic: Old English grund, strong masculine = Old Frisian, Old Saxon grund (Middle Dutch gront, inflected grond-, Dutch grond), Old High German grunt, krunt(Middle High German grunt, grund-, German gruna), Gothic *grundus (compare grundu-waddjus ground-wall, foundation, afgrundiþa abyss) < Old Germanic *grundu-z < pre-Germanic*ghrn̥tú-s; no cognates outside Germanic are known. The formal equivalent is not found in Old Norse, which has however grund (feminine) (declined like the -i- stems), earth, plain, and a cognate type (Germanic *grunþo- < pre-Germanic ghrn̥to-) in grunn-r, gruð-r (masculine), bottom, grunn-r adjective, shallow, grunn neuter, shoal (Danish grund bottom, shallow, Swedishgrund bottom, foundation, ground).
I. The bottom; the lowest part or downward limit of anything.
a. Of the sea, a well, ditch, etc., and of hell; rarely of heaven. (Cf. bottom n. 3) Obs.
c825 Vesp. Psalter lxiv. 8 Ðu gedroefes grund [L. fundum] sæs.
OE Genesis 345 Het hine þære sweartan helle grundes gyman.
c1175 Lamb. Hom. 19 He..alesde us of helle grunde.
?c1200 Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 12059 Modiȝnesse. Þatt warrp þe deofell..Inn till þe grund off helle pitt.
c1275 Luue Ron 154 in Old Eng. Misc. 98 Hit is ymston of feor iboren, nys non betere vnder heouene grunde.
1340 R. Rolle Pricke of Conscience 7213 In þe grond of helle dongeoune Þe hevedes of ȝynfulle salle be turned doune.
c1425 Eng. Conq. Irel. 12 He fel doun yn the ground of þe dich.
1483 Caxton tr. J. de Voragine Golden Legende 237 b/2 Thangel of our lord plunged them doun in the grounde of the see.
1535 Bible (Coverdale) Job xxxviii. 16 Camest thou euer in to the grounde of the see?
1637 S. Rutherford Lett. (1863) I. 218 Cast Him..into the ground of the Sea, He shall come up again.
†b. Of other things, esp. of a vessel or a wound (cf. bottom n. 1). Also in phrase all to ground: completely, thoroughly. Obs.
c1275 (▸?a1200) Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 10732 And duden heom alle clane into þan scipen grunde.
c1275 (▸?a1200) Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 3879 Þer mihten sitten in þon grunde [of the tower] cnihtes sixti hundred.
a1300 K. Horn 1197 Horn dronk of horn a stounde And þrew hys ryng to þe grounde [of the horn].
c1305 J. Iscariot 118 in Early Eng. Poems & Lives Saints (1862) 110 Of oure louerdes god..he stal al to grounde.
a1400 Minor Poems fr. Vernon MS. xxxvii. 814 Þe leche clanseþ þe wounde: Clene in þe ground And leiþ salue a-boue.
c1420 Pallad. on Husb. ix. 153 Decoct in bras yf grauel in the ground Noon leue, is preef that that licour is sound.
c1450 Jacob's Well (1900) 215 Ȝe schul be þe ground of þis laddere in helle, be-cause ȝe be begynners of þat wrong!
a1500 Lancelot of Laik (1870) 2079 His dedly wound god helyth frome the ground.
1636 A. Montgomerie Cherrie & Slae (new ed.) 1362 While we grip it [sc. an ailment] to the ground.
1823 Scott St. Ronan's Well I. ix. 224, I ken weel eneugh how a customer looks that's near the grund of the purse.
†c. fig. Of the heart: (cf. bottom n. and adj. Phrases 1). Obs.
?c1200 Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 13286 Crist sahh all hiss herrtess grund.
c1290 S.E. Leg. I. 220/19 Þis olde man riȝt of is heorte grounde Al weopinde he hem tolde ȝwat he hadde i-founde.
c1325 in G. L. Brook Harley Lyrics (1968) 56 Sone, y fele þe dedestounde, Þe suert is at myn herte grounde.
c1450 Jacob's Well (1900) 170 In þe bothme, in þe ground, in þe depthe of þin herte.
1535 Bible (Coverdale) Gen. xliii. E, The grounde of his hert was kyndled towarde his brother.
1611 M. Smith in Bible (King James) Transl. Pref. 7 Let vs rather blesse God from the ground of our heart.
1745 J. Wesley Wks. (1872) I. 506 We praised God from the ground of the heart.
d. Theol. [repr. German grund as used by 14th-cent. mystics, notably Eckhart and Tauler.] (a) The divine essence or centre of the individual soul, in which mystic union lies. (b) Godhead as the source of all that is.
a1400 Book of Privy Counselling (1944) 144/19 God, þi grounde & þi purete of spirit.
1865 J. H. Stirling Secret of Hegel I. ii. i. 235 Being is posited as Existence, and the Mediating agency of this Being as the Ground.
1899 W. R. Inge Christian Mysticism i. 7 The curious doctrine which we find in the mystics of the Middle Ages, that there is at ‘the apex of the mind’ a spark which is consubstantial with the uncreated ground of the Deity.
1911 E. Underhill Mysticism iii. 64 The point of contact between man's life and the divine life..is called the Ground of the Soul, the foundation or basal stuff whence springs all spiritual life.
1945 A. Huxley Time must have Stop (new ed.) viii. 92 There was the ultimate all-embracing field—the Brahma of Sankara, the One of Plotinus, the Ground of Eckhart and Boehme.
1945 A. Huxley Time must have Stop (new ed.) xxx. 289 There is a Godhead or Ground, which is the unmanifested principle of all manifestation... The Ground is transcendent and immanent.
1945 A. Huxley Perennial Philos. (1946) ii. 29 The divine Ground of all existence is a spiritual Absolute, ineffable in terms of discursive thought, but..susceptible of being directly experienced.
1949 P. Tillich Shaking of Foundations vi. 47 The God Whom he cannot flee is the Ground of his being.
1950 W. R. Trask tr. J. Bernhart in Theologia Germanica 95 What Plotinus had called the ‘kentron’ (center) of the soul, and Richard of St. Victor the ‘height and inwardness of the spirit’..; what Bernard of Clairvaux called the ‘point of the mind’ (acies mentis), or again the ‘spark’ (scintilla) is now given a variety of German names and is indefatigably discussed and speculated upon. It is called the ‘soul's essence’ (Wesen), ‘soul’ (Gemut),..‘ground’ (Grund)... These concepts are intended to designate that which God and man must have in common if a contact is to be established between them... The thing in which they [sc. individual mystics] agree is always the idea of the mystic function of the ‘ground’ of the soul.
1961 J. Walsh Julian of Norwich's Revelations Divine Love lxii. 168 God..is the Ground; he is the Substance.
1963 J. A. T. Robinson Honest to God iii. 45 (heading) The Ground of our Being.
a. The solid bottom or earth underlying the sea (†or other water). Now only Naut., esp. in reference to soundings, or in phrase to break ground: to heave the anchor clear of the bottom.
OE Beowulf 553 Hreo wæron yþa... Me to grunde geteah fah feondscaða.
c1000 Solomon & Saturn 227 Dol bið se ðe gæð on deop wæter, se ðe..mid fotum ne mæg grund geræcan.
?c1200 Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 14861 All all swa summ þe sæ wass þær. Dun till þe grund to worrpenn. Swa þatt teȝȝ o þe driȝȝe grund. Wel sæȝhenn openn weȝȝe.
a1300 Cursor Mundi 1840 Þat was no creatur in liue þat moght to grund or reche or riue.
a1300 Cursor Mundi 23198 Stang als men sais es vmstund Sua depe þat þar-on es na grund.
a1400 Seuyn Sag. (W.) 885 To a fische-pole he come..He lepe in and sanke to gronde.
c1400 Mandeville's Trav. (Roxb.) xxxiii. 148 As þai saile þai may..see þe ground of þe see.
c1450 Jacob's Well (1900) 75 Caste out of þi pytt þe stynkyng wose of pride, tyl þou fynde a syker ground & a clene.
c1485 Digby Myst. (1882) iii. 1395 Lett fall an ankyr to grownd!
a1568 in J. Cranstoun Satirical Poems Reformation (1891) I. xlvi. 393 Gif ȝe can nocht get the grund, Steir be the compas.
1598 Shakespeare Henry IV, Pt. 1 i. iii. 202 Diue into the bottome of the deepe, Where fadome line could neuer touch the ground.
1600 in R. Hakluyt Princ. Navigations (new ed.) III. 190 There is good ground and ankorage here: and you shall ride in three fathom water.
1611 G. Markham Countrey Contentm. i. xiv. 93 If you Angle for him [Trout] at the ground.. the Menow is a good bayte.
1698 J. Fryer New Acct. E.-India & Persia 1 The Ship then breaking Ground from Graves-End, to fall down to the Buoy in the Nore.
1712 W. Rogers Cruising Voy. 50 We kept continual Soundings, and had always Ground from one League to ten off the Shore, from 20 to 50 Fathom Water.
1752 W. Beawes Lex Mercatoria 116 If..the ship breaks ground, and arrives at her port.
1782 Log of Albemarle in Ld. Nelson Dispatches & Lett. (1846) VII. p. v, With this depth and ground you may be sure you are without the Capes.
1807 J. Johnson Oriental Voy. 220 On the 5th the men of war..broke ground, and steered past.
1867 W. H. Smyth & E. Belcher Sailor's Word-bk. To strike ground, to obtain soundings.
1781 C. Johnstone Hist. John Juniper I. 80 His readers..may have flattered themselves with hope of finding ground at last, after the pains of diving so deep for it.
b. The bottom at a point where the water becomes too shallow for a vessel, etc. to float. to take (the) ground: to run ashore, to strand. to smell the ground (see quot. 1875).
1600 Shakespeare Henry IV, Pt. 2 iv. i. 17 Thus do the hopes we haue in him, touch ground, And dash themselues to peeces.
1830 C. Lyell Princ. Geol. I. 299 These masses [icebergs] may sometimes take the ground in great numbers.
1875 E. FitzGerald Lett. (1889) I. 374, I..fancy that I begin to ‘smell the Ground’, as Sailors say of the Ship that slackens speed as the Water shallows under her.
1880 Times 4 Aug. 12/4 The Laine, Russian barque,..took the ground on the Somersetshire side.
1893 R. L. Stevenson Catriona Summary p. viii, The Covenant took ground and sank off the coast of Mull.
1893 ‘Q’ Delectable Duchy 295 Miss..Lear heard her brother's boat take ground on the narrow beach.
†c. on ground = aground adv. to set (also run) on ground: fig. to puzzle, nonplus (a person). Cf. sense 9b.
1600 Shakespeare Henry IV, Pt. 2 iv. iii. 40 Like a whale on ground.
1601 L. Andrewes Serm. (1843) V. 127 The Pharisees and Sadducees had no further end but to set Him on ground, and so to expose him to the contempt of the people.
a1642 W. Monson Naval Tracts (1704) vi. 522/1 The English..may come on Ground.
1642 D. Rogers Naaman 442 Will God heale, that man may be set on ground and bee convinced of his owne impotency.
1659 J. Arrowsmith Armilla Catechetica 138 Whilest others run themselves on ground, and dispute it till their understandings be nonplust.
1667 London Gaz. No. 217/4 The Ship called the Van Hoorn..is on ground without the mouth of the Texell.
a. In pl. The particles deposited by a liquid in the bottom of the vessel containing it; dregs, lees. †Also sing.: a residuum, sediment.
a1340 R. Rolle Psalter lxiv. 9 Ill men sall drynke þe grundis of þe chalice.
c1450 Middle Eng. Med. Bk. (Heinrich) 93 Streyne hit wel þorouȝ a caneuas, and do awey þe groundes of þe roses.
1601 P. Holland tr. Pliny Hist. World II. 159 The grounds or dregs of the black oile oliue.
1625 J. Hart Anat. Urines ii. viii. 98 Whersoeuer there is a swim..there is also a ground or residence.
1742 W. Ellis London & Country Brewer (ed. 4) I. 53 The unwholesome Settlements or Grounds of the Beer.
1775 R. B. Sheridan St. Patrick's Day ii. iv, Just. Did you perceive anything in my chocolate cup..? Ser. Nothing,..unless it was a little grounds.
1824 Macaulay Misc. Writings (1860) I. 141 [Telling fortunes] neither from the lines of a hand, nor the grounds of a teacup.
1860 All Year Round 11 Feb. 367 Cups of smoking black coffee (half grounds as the Turks drink it).
1629 S. Rutherford Lett. (1863) I. 44 Fulfil with joy the remnant of the grounds and remainders of the afflictions of Christ in your body.
1642 J. Hales Tract conc. Schisme 4 If so be you be animo defæcato, if you have cleared your selfe from froath and grownes.
1672 A. Marvell Rehearsal Transpros'd i. 185 How much another thing it is to hear him speak that hath cleared himself from froth and growns.
b. Refuse (of meal, wool, etc.). rare.
1629 G. Chapman tr. Juvenal Satire v. 21 The mustiest grounds Of Barley~griest, bak'd purposely for hounds.
1653 I. Walton Compl. Angler v. 117 You must be sure you want not..the Peacocks feather, and grounds of such wool and crewel as will make the Grasshopper.
1808 J. Jamieson Etymol. Dict. Sc. Lang. Grounds, the refuse of flax, left in dressing it.
II. Base, foundation.
a. The solid base or foundation on which an edifice or other structure is raised. In early use pl. in the same sense (cf.foundations). Obs.
c950 Lindisf. Gosp. Luke vi. 48 Gelic is [he] ðæm menn timbrende hus seðe delfæð..& gesette ða grundas [L. fundamenta] ofer carr vel stan.
c950 Lindisf. Gosp. Luke xiv. 29.
a1300 E.E. Psalter xvii. 8 Groundes ofe hilles todreued are.
a1300 E.E. Psalter xvii. 16 Groundes ofe ertheli werlde vn-hiled are.
a1300 Cursor Mundi 128 For þi þat na werc may stand Wit-outen grundwall to be lastand, Þar for þis werc sal I fund Apon a selcuth stedfast grund.
1382 Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) Ezra v. 16 Thilke Zazabazar cam, and sette the groundis of the temple of God in Jerusalem.
1423 Kingis Quair cxxx, On him traist and call, That corner-stone and ground is of the wall.
1535 Bible (Coverdale) 1 Kings vi. 15 Salomon..buylded the walles..from the grounde of ye house vnto the rofe.
1581 in J. Cranstoun Satirical Poems Reformation (1891) I. xliv. 35 As ȝour maisters grund is laid, Lyk do the vallis and bigging be.
1634 T. Herbert Relation Some Yeares Trauaile 57 There be but nineteene standing,..howbeit the ruines and ground of fourescore more, are yet visible.
c1720 N. Dubois & G. Leoni tr. A. Palladio Architecture III. viii. 18 The beams which make the ground or bottom of the Bridge.
b. The floor.
1847 Webster's Amer. Dict. Eng. Lang. Ground, a floor or pavement.
1900 Eng. Dial. Dict. Put the baby an the ground and let 'er craal.
1921 E. O'Neill Emperor Jones (1925) i. 7 (stage direct.) Woman (seeing the uselessness of struggling, gives way to frantic terror, and sinks to the ground).
1937 A. Christie Murder in Mews i. 14 We.. forced the door open. Mrs. Allen was lying in a heap on the ground shot through the head.
1939 J. Joyce Finnegans Wake 452 Pricking up ears to my phono on the ground and picking up airs from th'other over th'ether.
5. In various immaterial applications.
a. That on which a system, work, institution, art, or condition of things, is founded; the basis, foundation. Now somewhatrare.
1340 R. Rolle Pricke of Conscience 209 Mekenes, Þat es grund of al vertus..On whilk al vertus may be sette fast.
c1374 Chaucer Troilus & Criseyde ii. 793 (842) As he þat is þe welle of worþinesse Of trouþe ground, myrour of goodlyhed.
a1400 (▸a1325) Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 19307 Þat was to strenght þair trout[h] in grund.
1423 Kingis Quair vi, And so the vertew of his ȝouth before Was in his age the ground of his delytis.
a1483 Liber Niger in Coll. Ordinances Royal Househ. (1790) 18 He ordeyned his groundes for household so sure that his greete hospitalitie dayly stode wurshypfully without decay xxxiii yeres.
▸?a1513 W. Dunbar Poems (1998) 150 Cuvatyce, Rute of all evill and grund of vyce.
1523 J. Fitzherbert Bk. Surueyeng Prol. sig. B3, For a grounde of this treatyse..I do take an olde statute named Extenta manerii, as a principall grounde therof.
c1540 (▸?a1400) Destr. Troy Prol. 80 How þe groundes first grew..Bothe of torfer and tene þat hom tide aftur.
1596 Spenser Second Pt. Faerie Queene vi. i. sig. Z3v, Which of all goodly manners is the ground, And roote of ciuill conuersation.
1611 M. Smith in Bible (King James) Transl. Pref. 4 The Edition of the Seuentie..was vsed by the Greeke fathers for the ground and foundation of their Commentaries.
1653 I. Walton Compl. Angler iv. 110 These and the May-fly are the ground of all fly-Angling.
1654 J. Playford Breefe Introd. Skill Musick 1 The Gam-ut is the Ground and Foundation of all Musick.
1867 F. D. Maurice Patriarchs & Law-givers (1877) x. 198 The ground of the national existence was laid in sacrifice.
1870 W. S. Jevons Elem. Lessons Logic xxvi. 219 Upon a similar ground rests all the vast body of certain knowledge.
†b. A fundamental principle; (also in pl.) the elements or rudiments of any study or branch of knowledge. Obs.
?1530 St. German's Dyaloge in Englysshe Introd. f. iiv, I wyll gladly shewe the as me thynkyth what be the groundes of the lawe of Englande.
1574 tr. T. Littleton Tenures (new ed.) 2 b, There is a ground in the law, that inheritance may..not lyneally ascend.
1599 J. Davies Nosce Teipsum 14 Marrying diuerse principles and grounds, Out of their match a true Conclusion brings.
1605 Bacon Of Aduancem. Learning ii. sig. Aa1v, Let this ground therefore be layd, that [etc.].
1625 Bacon Ess. (new ed.) xii. 63 Men that vndertake great Cures..but want the Grounds of Science.
1648 T. Gage Eng.-Amer. xx. 160 And counselled me to learn the..language, (whereof I had already got some grounds).
1708 Chamberlayne's Magnæ Britanniæ Notitia (1743) ii. iii. x. 434 They have likewise a chaplain to instruct them in the grounds of learning.
1762 S. Foote Orators i. 10 Tho' he is the Poitier who teaches you the step and the grounds; yet I am the Gallini who gives you the air, and the grace of the minuet.
c. A circumstance on which an opinion, inference, argument, statement, or claim is founded, or which has given rise to an action, procedure, or mental feeling; a reason, motive. Often with additional implication: a valid reason, justifying motive, or what is alleged as such. on the ground of: by reason of (some circumstance alleged in justification of a procedure). on public (also religious, etc.) grounds: for reasons of the nature specified.
c1275 (▸?a1200) Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 1594 Al þis ilka ich wulle don. Iseid ich habbe þene grund.
c1374 Chaucer Compl. Mars 160–3 The grounde an cause of al my peyn..I wol reherse not for to haue redresse But to declare my grounde of heuynesse.
1395 Remonstr. Rom. Corrup. (1851) 20 Ambrose and Crisostom witnessen, with greet ground of holi writ and opin resoun, that confessioun to God sufficith to saluacioun.
1467 in Manners & Househ. Expenses Eng. (1841) 171 He..sawe his growende scholde be preved nowte, thanne he mad a new mater.
1535 Bible (Coverdale) Isa. xli. C, Stonde at youre cause (saieth the Lorde) and bringe forth youre strongest grounde.
1599 Shakespeare Romeo & Juliet v. iii. 179 The true ground of all these piteous woes.
1599 H. Buttes Dyets Dry Dinner sig. E3, Chestnut, Chastnut: say some. I knowe not upon what ground.
1605 S. V. in R. Verstegan Restit. Decayed Intelligence Commend. Verses, To gratifie that nation is his ground To whome he thinks his best endeuours bound.
1642 T. Fuller Holy State iv. xx. 343 The beginning of a rumour is sometimes all the ground thereof.
1657 P. Henry Diaries & Lett. (1882) 42 Hee refus'd; his grounds I know not.
1662 E. Stillingfleet Origines Sacræ ii. iii. §6 Then all former ages have believed without sufficient ground for faith.
a1693 M. Bruce Good News in Evil Times (1708) 18 A great ground of Gladness.
1698 J. Fryer New Acct. E.-India & Persia 340 On which ground it is, that their best Cities seldom have splendid Edifices..from..private Hands.
a1701 H. Maundrell Journey Aleppo to Jerusalem (1703) 124 The ground, and reason of this tradition, I could not learn.
1729 W. Law Serious Call xi. 167 Let but any complaining, disquieted man tell you the ground of his uneasiness.
1775 R. B. Sheridan Rivals ii. i, What grounds for apprehension?
1790 E. Burke Refl. Revol. in France 19 There is ground enough for the opinion that all the kingdoms of Europe were, at a remote period, elective.
1794 R. B. Sheridan Duenna (new ed.) i. 18 That is to be the ground of my dismission.
1796 E. Burke 2 Lett. Peace Regicide Directory of France i. 130, I thought the insolent, unprovoked aggression..a good ground of war.
1856 J. A. Froude Hist. Eng. (1858) I. ii. 134 His desire was publicly urged on public grounds, and..thus only, the pope was at liberty to consider it.
1859 J. S. Mill On Liberty ii. 67 He has no ground for preferring either opinion.
1868 J. H. Blunt Reformation Church of Eng. I. 283 The modern usurer will on such grounds leave his money to a hospital.
1871 B. Jowett tr. Plato Dialogues I. 223 Thus all ground of offence is taken away.
1876 W. E. Gladstone Homeric Synchronism 57, I am unable to perceive the grounds of the assumption.
1882 J. H. Blunt Reformation Church of Eng. II. 293 Ferrar was deprived..on the ground of his marriage.
1883 C. J. Wills In Land of Lion & Sun 109 Whether or no this legend had any ground I cannot say.
1895 F. Hall Two Trifles iii, My grounds for doing so shall soon be stated explicitly.
6. The foundation or substratum on which other parts are overlaid, or on which they rest for support or display. In various technical uses:
a. The chief or underlying part in a composite textile fabric; a piece of cloth used as a basis for embroidery or decoration. InLace-making: the meshes upon which the pattern is worked.
c1386 Chaucer Prol. 453 Hir couerchiefs ful fyne weren of ground I dorste swere they weyeden ten pound.
1480 Wardrobe Accts. Edward IV in N. H. Nicolas Privy Purse Expenses Elizabeth of York (1830) 116 Cloth of gold broched upon satyn ground.
1494 Act 11 Hen. VII c. 27 They pluck off both the Nap and Cotton of the same Fustians, and break commonly both the Ground and Threads in sunder.
1668 Dryden Secret-love iii. i. 25 No mortal hand so ignorant is found To weave course work upon a precious ground.
1722 London Gaz. No. 6068/8 A Suit of Double Ground, yellow and white, lined with a yellow Mantua Silk.
1781 R. B. Sheridan Critic i. i, Your occasional tropes and flowers suit the general coarseness of your style as tambour sprigs would a ground of linsey-woolsey.
1882 S. F. A. Caulfeild & B. C. Saward Dict. Needlework 151/1 Devonia Ground. A ground..used in Duchesse lace, and as a variety when making Honiton lace.
b. Any material surface, natural or prepared, which is taken as a basis for working upon: esp. in painting or decorative art, a main surface or first coating of colour, serving as a support for other colours or a background for designs; the prevailing or principal colour of any object, picture, etc.; that portion of a surface which is not coloured, decorated, or operated upon. Also in pl.
1398 J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomew de Glanville De Proprietatibus Rerum (1495) xix. xi. 871 The meane coloures ben groundyd in none other colour better than in whyte, and the more whyte the grounde is the faster the colour cleuyth.
1594 Shakespeare Lucrece sig. H2v, My sable ground of sinne I will not paint.
1601 P. Holland tr. Pliny Hist. World II. 621 The rest had need of a ground of Latton foile to giue them a lustre.
1625 N. Carpenter Geogr. Delineated i. vii. 168 In the Plaine-Chart..the Ground is the space or plat-forme wherein the Lines are to be inscribed.
1687 A. Lovell tr. J. de Thévenot Trav. into Levant i. 200 All the Wall is painted in lovely Mosaick Work of Green, upon a Ground of fine Gold.
1740 G. Smith tr. Laboratory (rev. ed.) xi. 236 When you begin to work, lay a thick ground against the ceiling or wall, with plaister.
1820 Scott Monastery II. iv. 148 The gems, being relieved and set off by the darker and more grave ground of the stuff, show like stars.
1839 A. Ure Dict. Arts 921 Laying the grounds [of wall-paper] is done with earthy colours or coloured lakes thickened with size, and applied with brushes.
1860 J. Ruskin Mod. Painters V. 124 Seen in broken flakes on a deep purple ground of heavier cloud beyond.
1871 B. Jowett in tr. Plato Dialogues II. 43 Dyers first prepare the white ground and then lay on the dye of purple.
1633 S. Marmion Fine Compan. i. vii, in Dram. Wks. (1875) 124 A man cannot discern the ground of their discourse for oaths.
1828 Lights & Shades Eng. Life II. 157 Cockneyism is a ground of native shallowness, mounted with pertness and conceit.
†c. Music. The plainsong or melody on which a descant is raised. Also: = ground-bass n. at Compounds 2a. Obs.
1592 R. Dallington tr. F. Colonna Hypnerotomachia f. 19, A cunning Musition, who hauing deuised his plaine grounde in right measure [etc.].
1596 Raigne of Edward III sig. C1v, Ah what a world of descant makes my soule, Vpon this voluntarie ground of loue.
1597 Shakespeare Richard III iii. vii. 49 For on that ground Ile build a holy descant.
1633 B. Jonson Love's Welcome at Welbeck Welcome is all our Song, is all our sound, The Treble part, the Tenor, and the Ground.
1670 S. Wilson Lassels's Voy. Italy (new ed.) ii. 310 An vntouched organ vnderneath the hill, playes à soft ground to the Muses instruments.
1719 I. Watts Let God the Father in Doxol. Sinners from his free Love derive The Ground of all their Songs.
1786 T. Busby Compl. Dict. Music Ground, the name given to a composition in which the bass, consisting of a few bars of independent notes, is perpetually repeated to a continually varying melody: as in Purcel's Ground, Pepusch's Ground, etc.
d. Etching. (See quots. 18371, 18372.) Also etching-ground. Cf. German ätzgrund.
1728 E. Chambers Cycl. Ground, in Etching, is a gummous Composition, smeared over the Surface of the Metal to be etch'd; to prevent the Aqua Fortis from eating, or having effect, except in Places where this Ground is cut thro', or pared off, with the Points of Needles.
?1790 J. Imison Curious & Misc. Articles (new ed.) 51 in School of Arts (ed. 2) Take a copper plate prepared as before..lay the etching ground upon it, and etch the outlines of your design.
1821 W. M. Craig Lect. Drawing vii. 386 This ground must be made up into small balls.
1834 Penny Cycl. II. 203/1 [article Aquatinta] He..formed a granulated surface on the plate, usually called a ground.
1837 Penny Cycl. IX. 441 This etching-ground is a substance composed of wax, asphaltum, gum-mastic, resin, etc... The laying of the ground, as it is called, is thus effected [etc.].
1837 Penny Cycl. IX. 442 The parts which are bitten-in enough are now to be covered with what is called stopping-ground, which is a mixture of lamp-black and Venice turpentine.
1885 Chemist's Circular Holding the plate perfectly level, pour on the centre as much of the Liquid Ground as will freely flow over the entire surface.
e. Carpentry. (See quots.) Usually in pl.
1823 P. Nicholson New Pract. Builder 225 Grounds.—Pieces of wood concealed in a wall, to which the facings or finishings are attached.
1825 ‘J. Nicholson’ Operative Mechanic 593 Ground, or boxing-stile, grooved to receive the plastering.
1847 A. C. Smeaton Builder's Pocket Man. (new ed.) 248 Grounds.—Those pieces of wood imbedded in the plastering of walls, to which skirting and other joiner's finishings are attached.
1876 Encycl. Brit. IV. 492 Where the plasterer's work joins the grounds, they should have a small groove ploughed in the edge to form a key for the plaster.
†f. In pl. (See quots.) Obs.
1664 J. Evelyn Sylva (1729) i. xvii. 79 Of the whitest part of the old Wood..is made the Grounds of our effeminate farined Gallants Sweet Powder.
1699 B. E. New Dict. Canting Crew Chalk, used in Powder by the Perfumers to mix with their Grounds.
1699 B. E. New Dict. Canting Crew Grounds, unscented Hair Powder, made of Starch or Rice.
†7. The fundamental constituent or the essential part of any thing. Obs.
1580 J. Frampton tr. N. Monardes Bk. Medicines agaynst Venome in Ioyfull Newes f. 123v, Taking away the grounde, and euill qualitie, that the venomes doe infuse into the bodies.
1607 E. Topsell Hist. Fovre-footed Beastes 553 Our muske is compounded of diuers things, the ground whereof is the bloud of a little beast.
1634 T. Herbert Relation Some Yeares Trauaile 149 Though the meat be particoloured, or party named. Yet the ground and meate is Pelo and no other.
1740 H. Bracken Farriery Improv'd (ed. 2) II. i. 14 The Ground of the Eye (as they call it) should be large and full... What they mean by the Ground of the Eye, is the Pupil or Hole thro' the Iris and Uvea.
III. The surface of the earth, or a part of it.
a. The earth regarded as the surface upon which man and his surroundings naturally rest or move; freq. in prepositional phrases, as along (also on, to) the ground (†formerly also without the article), above (also under) ground.
971 Blickl. Hom. 221 Ða eodan hie eft to ðæm tune, & þæt gild gebræcan & gefyldan eal oþ grund.
OE Beowulf 2294 Hordweard sohte georne æfter grunde, wolde guman findan.
?c1200 Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 9285 Illc an treo þatt..Ne bereþþ nohht god wasstme Shall bi þe grund beon hæwenn upp.
1297 R. Gloucester's Chron. (Rolls) 2768 Wat is binuþe þe gronde, þat makeþ þat þe fondement ne stont none stounde.
a1325 (▸c1250) Gen. & Exod. (1968) l. 2640 Ðe child it warp dun to de [read ðe] grund.
1340 Ayenbite (1866) 246 Ase þet trau þet is ykarked mid frut, þe more hit bouȝ to þe grunde.
c1386 Chaucer Prioress's Tale 223 He fil al plat vp on the grounde.
c1430 Syr Gener. (Roxb.) 8738 Oon gaf him on the ere Such a clap with his fist That he thoo the ground kyst.
1488 (▸c1478) Hary Actis & Deidis Schir William Wallace (Adv.) (1968–9) vi. l. 10 In Aperill, quhen cleithit is..The abill ground be wyrking off natur.
1513 G. Douglas in tr. Virgil Æneid xii. Prol. 29 On the fertill skyrt lappis of the ground.
1579 Spenser Shepheardes Cal. June 6 The simple ayre, the gentle warbling wynde..The grassye ground with daintye Daysies dight.
1590 Spenser Faerie Queene iii. xii. sig. Oo6, To ground He fell halfe dead.
a1604 M. Hanmer Chron. Ireland 86 in J. Ware Two Hist. Ireland (1633) If any be much under grownd, the dampnesse of the earth takes away their lively colour.
1698 J. Fryer New Acct. E.-India & Persia 43 Were the City again in the hands of the Moors, or even with the Ground, it were better for us.
1772 G. White Let. 12 Apr. in Nat. Hist. Selborne (1789) 149 After I left Sussex the tortoise retired into the ground under the hepatica.
1828 Scott Fair Maid of Perth ii, in Chron. Canongate 2nd Ser. II. 61 He looked on the ground while he answered her.
1888 J. McCarthy & R. C. Praed Ladies' Gallery II. xi. 214 He stumbled..and I came to the ground with him.
b. fig. in phr. †to bring to the ground: to cast down, overthrow, overcome, subdue; to come (also go) to the ground: to be overcome; to perish; to fall to the ground: (of schemes) to come to nothing, to be given up or abandoned; so to be dashed to the ground (of hopes); down to the ground: completely, thoroughly, in every respect (colloq.);from the ground up (colloq., orig. U.S.), completely, entirely; ‘down to the ground’; to get off the ground, to make a successful start; on the ground, in situ, on the spot.
?c1200 Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 11773 Þatt illke wise. þatt adam. I paradys wass fandedd. & brohht to grund.
1297 R. Gloucester's Chron. (Rolls) 1292 Þis lond was ibroȝt þoru treson verst to grounde.
1297 R. Gloucester's Chron. (Rolls) 7495 Þus lo þe englisse folc vor noȝt to grounde com.
c1330 R. Mannyng Chron. Wace (Rolls) 9888 Arthur..preyed hym of help a stounde, Or elles he scholde go to grounde.
c1540 (▸?a1400) Destr. Troy 9342 Hit greuys me full gretly, & to ground brynges.
1579 W. Fulke Heskins Parl. Repealed in D. Heskins Ouerthrowne 411 It must needes fall to the ground.
1587 Sir P. Sidney & A. Golding tr. P. de Mornay Trewnesse Christian Relig. xiv. 252 Let such vanities passe, and come to the ground.
1640 C. Harvey Church-gate iii, He holds us up, whilst in him we are found: If once we fall from him, we go to ground.
1762 H. Walpole Vertue's Anecd. Painting II. ii. 62 It fell to the ground with the rest of the King's plans and attempts.
1849 E. E. Napier Excursions Southern Afr. II. 5 These poor fellows' hopes were suddenly dashed to the ground.
1856 R. W. Emerson Eng. Traits v. 82 The strong survived, the weaker went to the ground.
1867 R. Broughton Cometh up as Flower II. vii. 104 Suited me down to the ground.
1878 M. E. Braddon Cloven Foot xlv, Some sea-coast city in South America would suit me down to the ground.
1894 G. du Maurier Trilby (1895) 421 He looks as if he could be trusted down to the ground.
1895 Congress. Rec. 6 Feb. App. 207/1 There never has been a time that a democratic administration has not been American from the ground up.
1910 W. M. Raine Bucky O'Connor 52 We suited each other from the ground up.
1960 Guardian 25 Nov. 15/1 On-the-ground investigations.
1961 New Statesman 28 July 129/3 Intended as a half-way point of the Festival, at which audience and platform might fruitfully interact, it never got off the ground.
1963 Listener 10 Jan. 59/2 There is no longer any good reason why the young..American writer should undergo a European apprenticeship unless it be to satisfy his curiosity or to watch the operations of another literature on the ground.
1969 Listener 3 Apr. 469/1 It soon became evident..that the history of contemporary music required reconsidering from the ground up.
1969 Guardian 4 July 5/5 If thefts continue, the future plans for the Crewe to Glasgow [railway] line can never really get off the ground.
c. Regarded as the place of burial. above ground: unburied, alive. to bring (also come) to the ground (now onlydial.): to bury, be buried.
c1400 Siege Troy 1334 in Archiv f. das Studium der Neueren Sprachen 72 44 So doughty a body..That soo lowe is leyd in þe ground.
?c1430 St. Greg. Trental in Tundale's Vis. (1843) 79 Sone to the gronde the con hor bere bryng And beryd hor.
1570 in S. Tymms Wills & Inventories Bury St. Edmunds (1850) 157 To see me honestly brought to the grownde.
1611 Bible (King James) Gen. iii. 19.
a1616 Shakespeare Coriolanus (1623) iv. i. 52 While I remaine aboue the ground, you shall Heare from me still.
1694 L. Echard tr. Plautus Rudens iv. vii, in tr. Plautus Comedies 208 I'll find out my Master, if he be above Ground, and bring him t'ye.
1858 N. Hawthorne Fr. & Ital. Jrnls. (1872) I. 19 Rachel, who died last week, and is still above ground.
1877 L. J. Jennings Field Paths 28 Poor thing! it was only fourteen months afore she came to the ground.
d. The portion of the earth's surface on which a person or thing stands or moves; often fig. in phr. to cut the ground from under one (or one's feet).
c1530 Interl. Beauties Women A vi, Yet worship I the ground that thou gost on.
1809 B. H. Malkin tr. A. R. Le Sage Adventures Gil Blas II. iv. i. 5, I took all possible pains to feel the ground under my feet, and to study the characters of the whole household.
1855 Trollope Warden xi, The ground was cut from under her on every side.
1869 Trollope He knew he was Right I. lxiii. 115 Why should you have cut the ground away from your feet in that way?
1938 B. Lunn in ‘H. Kingsmill’ Eng. Genius 205 The Presbyterian divines were maddened by answers which cut the ground from institutional religion.
1962 Christian Cent. 18 July 886/2 In short, Veterum Sapientia has actually succeeded in cutting the ground from under the feet of the exponents of a living liturgy.
†e. The bare floor which constituted the pit of a theatre. Obs.
1631 B. Jonson Bartholmew Fayre Induct. 50 in Wks. II The vnderstanding Gentlemen o' the ground.
f. Fox-hunting. (to run) to ground: into a burrow or hole in the ground, ‘to earth’; cf. run v. Phrases 3g. Also to lie at ground. to go to ground: also said of a dog. Also in other phrases, and fig. (of a person), to withdraw from public notice and live quietly or ‘lie low’.to run into the ground: see run v. Phrases 3g.
1797 Monthly Mag. 3 246 They soon found a fox, who..saved himself by running to ground.
1801 W. B. Daniel Rural Sports I. 90 In deep Snow, Foxes will lie at ground.
1801 W. B. Daniel Rural Sports I. 91 When a Fox goes to ground, after a long chase..With respect to the digging of Foxes which hounds run to ground.
1860 G. D. Prentice Prenticeana 175 A Party of our friends..chased a fox thirty-six hours. They actually ‘ran the thing into the ground’.
1871 H. B. Stowe My Wife & I ix. 93 Show me up the weak points of those reformers; raise a laugh at those temperance men,—those religionists, who, like all us poor human trash, are running religion, and morals, and progress into the ground.
1900 Daily News 23 Oct. 6/2 The British infantrymen watched the race for shelter, their sporting spirit rising..above all racial hatred, and hailing with a ‘gone to ground’ whoop the final disappearance of the gun.
1905 Loder-Symonds & Crowdy Hist. Old Berks Hunt xv. 292 Hatford. Gorse, where they soon marked him [the fox] to ground.
1920 A. C. Smith Dog 18 Strictly speaking..Airedales and bull terriers should not be classified among the terriers, both being much too big to go to ground.
1925 Times 7 Jan. 5/6 Sticking to their fox, the pace continued good to Chesterton, where he was marked to ground.
1930 ‘Sapper’ Finger of Fate 265 It so happens that on occasions members of the fraternity [sc. snakes] go to ground in the bunches of fruit as they lie stacked beside the railway line.
1931 Our Dogs 23 Oct. 292/2 Working Terrier Dog..goes to ground to fox or badger, and stays.
1964 Ann. Reg. 1963 326 The four men ‘went to ground’, probably in Johannesburg.
1968 K. Weatherly Roo Shooter 39 When they found where a fox had been caught they would track it, sometimes for miles, and shoot it, but often the fox would go to ground and another trap was lost.
1968 Times 11 May 4/6 They are looking for a suburban villa where they can go to ground.
†a. The earth as contrasted with heaven. Chiefly in phr. on (the) ground. (In later use perh. not different from sense 8.)Obs.
a1000 Hymns (Gr.) ix. 39 And we men cweðað on grunde her.
1362 Langland Piers Plowman A. ix. 52 God saue þe from mischaunce, And ȝiue þe grace vppon grounde, In good lyf to ende.
a1400–50 Alexander 1964 All þe gracieux goddez þat þe ground viseten All er vndir my obedience.
a1500 (▸a1460) Towneley Plays (1994) I. xvi. 201 Ther goys none on grownde That has sich a wyght.
a1616 Shakespeare Cymbeline (1623) v. vi. 146 A Nobler Sir, ne're liu'd 'Twixt sky and ground.
1631 B. Jonson Divell is Asse iv. iv. 135 in Wks. II There's not a finer Officer goes on ground.
1742 W. Shenstone School-mistress 72 And think, no doubt, she been the greatest wight on ground.
1883 R. W. Dixon Mano iii. iii. 123 The truest gentleman that is on ground.
†b. The earth as distinguished from the sea; the dry land. to lay on dry ground: to floor, gravel (cf. sense 2c). Obs.
OE Andreas (1932) 747 Ge mon cigað godes ece bearn, þone þe grund ond sund, heofon ond eorðan ond hreo wægas, salte sæstreamas ond swegluppe amearcode mundum sinum.
a1300 K. Horn 142 Of schip þe gon fonde An sette fot on grunde.
?1520 J. Rastell Nature .iiii. Element sig. Cviij, But sir if that aman sayle farre Upon the see wyll than that starre Do there as on the grounde.
1590 Spenser Faerie Queene i. iii. sig. C6, The glad marchant, that does vew from ground His ship far come.
1599 T. Nashe Lenten Stuffe 50 Who this king should bee, beshackled theyr wits, and layd them a dry ground euery one.
?1614 W. Drummond Song: It Autumne was in Poems Can not beleeue..That other Elements be to be found Than is the Water and this Ball of Ground.
1653 H. Cogan tr. F. M. Pinto Voy. & Adventures xix. 67 Then we unladed all her furniture..and set her on ground for to caulk her.
1697 Dryden tr. Virgil Æneis x, in tr. Virgil Wks. 526 Too late young Turnus the Delusion found, Far on the Sea, still making from the Ground.
10. With a and pl.
†a. A region, land, country. Obs. rare.
OE Widsith 136 Swa scriþende gesceapum hweorfað gleomen gumena geond grunda fela.
OE Beowulf 2073 Heofones gim glad ofer grundas.
c1436 Libel Eng. Policy in Pol. Poems (Rolls) II. 188 In alle Cristendome Ys no grounde ne lond to Yreland lyche, So large, so gode.
c1436 Libel Eng. Policy in Pol. Poems (Rolls) II. 191 Kepe welle that grounde [Wales].
1609 B. Jonson Case is Alterd i. sig. A2v, Though I haue no learning, yet I honour a scholer in any ground of the earth sir.
†b. A piece or parcel of land. Obs.
1548 N. Udall et al. tr. Erasmus Paraphr. Newe Test. I. Matt. xxvii. 7 And with that moneye they bought a ground of a certayne potter for godlye vses.
1565 T. Cooper Thesaurus Arborum contemplatione fundum comparare, to bye a grounde for the trees that is in it.
1733 J. Tull Horse-hoing Husbandry 23 When Part of a Ground has been better Till'd than the rest [etc.].
c. In pl. An enclosed portion of land of considerable extent surrounding or attached to a dwelling-house or other building, serving chiefly for ornament or recreation. †Formerly in more general sense: = lands, fields.
a1500 (▸a1460) Towneley Plays (1994) I. xvi. 194 Markys, rentys, and powndys, Greatt castels and groundys.
1538 A. Fitzherbert Newe Bk. Justyces Peas 158 b, No person shall kepe..in his owne proper landes, nor in the possession, londes or groundes of any other..aboue the nombre of two thousande Shepe at one tyme.
a1616 Shakespeare Henry VI, Pt. 2 (1623) iv. ix. 33 Like a Theefe to come to rob my grounds; Climbing my walles inspight of me the Owner.
1678 J. Bunyan Pilgrim's Progress 184 Giant Despair..caught Christian and Hopeful asleep in his grounds.
1697 Dryden tr. Virgil Georgics i, in tr. Virgil Wks. 53 His [labours] who plows across the furrow'd Grounds.
1697 Dryden tr. Virgil Georgics i, in tr. Virgil Wks. 55 No..Marks nor Bounds Distinguish'd Acres of litigious Grounds.
1751 Johnson Rambler No. 161. ⁋2 Till he has learned the history of his grounds.
1806 J. Beresford Miseries Human Life I. ii. 31 After having cut down every foot of grass upon your grounds.
1836 Dickens Pickwick Papers (1837) xix. 195 The Captain's house was a villa, and his land ‘grounds’, and it was all very high, and mighty, and great.
1855 W. H. Prescott Hist. Reign Philip II of Spain I. ii. iv. 465 Extensive grounds were also laid out around the palace, and a park was formed.
a. Area or distance on the face of the earth. (Usually without article, and most commonly depending on a word implying extent or partition.) Also fig. (cf. senses 4, 5).
?1523 J. Fitzherbert Bk. Husbandry §12 An acre of grounde..as moche grounde.
c1540 (▸?a1400) Destr. Troy 12556 Naules..hade londes full long, & of leue brede, And the grettist of grise, of gronnde & of pepull.
1576 A. Fleming Panoplie Epist. Ep. Ded. sig. ¶iijv, Anon, haueing gone a litle ground, mine eyes were fead with most delectable appearaunces.
1600 Shakespeare Merchant of Venice ii. ii. 99, I will not rest till I haue runne some ground.
1625 N. Carpenter Geogr. Delineated ii. xi. 185 That parcell of ground..was before the time of Moses become the Salt Sea.
1667 S. Pepys Diary 21 Apr. (1974) VIII. 173, I took him..to look upon the ground which is to be let there, where I have a mind to buy enough to build a coach-house and stable.
a1774 O. Goldsmith tr. P. Scarron Comic Romance (1775) II. vi. 58 We travelled till night, and afterwards having gone a great deal more ground [etc.].
1842 S. Lover Handy Andy iii. 34, ‘I bungle the loading of pistols! I that have stepped more ground than any man in the country!’
1860 J. Tyndall Glaciers of Alps i. xvii. 121 The glacier..takes up ground which belonged to it in former ages.
1900 Pilot 24 Mar. 110/2 Much of the ground covered in these expeditions is practically new to the modern European.
1727 A. Hamilton New Acct. E. Indies II. xlvii. 170 And thought that the Kings Refusal to make good their Demands, was a sufficient Piece of Ground to build their War on.
b. esp. in phr. to break (new) ground, to make progress in a new direction (see break v. Phrases 3c); to gain (alsogather, get) ground: to advance, make progress; lit. and fig. (see gain v.2 8, gather v. 9, get v. Phrases 2b); to give ground: to recede, retire (see give v. 45); to lose ground: to fall back, decline (see lose v.1 3d); to make (up) ground, to make progress.
c1436 Libel Eng. Policy in Pol. Poems (Rolls) II. 188 Wylde Yrishe so muche of grounde have gotyne There upon us.
c1436 Libel Eng. Policy in Pol. Poems (Rolls) II. 189 In that land..we lesse every yere More grounde and more.
?1529 S. Fish Supplicacyon for Beggers sig. A3, The Turke..shulde neuer be abill to get so moche grounde of cristendome.
1576 A. Fleming tr. C. Plinius Novocomensis in Panoplie Epist. 254 To outrunne the ringleader, and thereby to gett ground.
1607 T. Dekker & J. Webster Famous Hist. Thomas Wyat sig. Ev, They come, no man giue ground..Be Englishmen and berd them to their faces.
1647 J. Howell New Vol. of Lett. 6 To deale plainly with you, you have lost some ground at Court by it.
1687 A. Lovell tr. J. de Thévenot Trav. into Levant i. 111 Though we beat and tack'd to and agen till the evening, we gained no ground.
a1776 R. James Diss. Fevers (1778) 53 He sweated profusely and the delirium began to give ground.
1804 W. Tennant Indian Recreat. (ed. 2) I. 39 A more independent spirit..is daily gaining ground among that class of men.
1870 J. H. Burton Hist. Scotl. to 1688 VII. lxxiii. 170 They were steadily losing ground in the war.
1895 E. C. Brewer Dict. Phrase & Fable (rev. ed.) 557/2 To break ground, to be the first to commence a project, etc.; to take the first step in an undertaking.
1906 H. C. Wyld Hist. Study Mother Tongue v. 94 Those tendencies..which are peculiar to the individual, and which are not shared by the community, will not gain ground, but will be eliminated.
1921 Granta 30 Nov. The local side again and again made ground galore with long kicks down wind.
1928 Nation & Athenæum 7 Jan. 537/2 Montesquieu..had been the first to break the new ground.
1931 F. L. Allen Only Yesterday ix. 229 Theodore Dreiser, Willa Cather,..the Imagists and exponents of free verse had been breaking new ground since before the war.
1932 Sunday Express 3 July 22/7 Udaipur is gradually making up ground on the colts in Butters' stable.
1954 G. D. H. Cole Hist. Socialist Thought II. xiii. 362 Communities breaking new ground were in constant danger of becoming the prey of fraudulent financiers and bankers.
1954 A. S. C. Ross in Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 55 45 Posh ‘smart’ is essentially non-U, but recently, it has gained ground among schoolboys of all classes.
1966 Listener 10 Mar. 345/2 I've had to break new ground in all directions in order to say them.
c. to take ground: to take up, or move into, a certain position. lit. and fig.
1700 [see sense 13b].
1817 J. Mill Hist. Brit. India II. v. v. 489 Uncertainty was at last removed, by his marching towards Arcot, and taking ground before it on the 21st of August.
1859 F. A. Griffiths Artillerist's Man. (1862) 18 Take ground to the right (or left) in fours.
1883 Harper's Mag. Nov. 850/1 He took new ground..as to..painting.
d. fig. With allusion to a metaphorical ‘travelling’ or the like: subject matter, things that may be the object of study or discourse. Also rarely with a: a department of study.
1796 H. Hunter tr. J. H. B. de Saint-Pierre Stud. Nature (1799) I. 12 His pupil had the courage to walk over the same ground after him.
1804 W. Tennant Indian Recreat. (ed. 2) I. 117 The learned Dr. Robertson has travelled partly over the same ground.
1842 S. Lover Handy Andy xiii. 112 Mr. B...thought he had touched on forbidden ground.
1847 L. Hunt Men, Women, & Bks. I. i. 8 The more we know of any one ground of knowledge, the further we see into the general domains of intellect.
1933 H. L. Ickes Diary 12 Sept. in Secret Diary (1953) I. 88 At eleven o'clock we had a meeting of the Public Works Board and we covered a great deal of ground.
12. Preceded by a descriptive or limiting adj., or an attributive n.: area or space having a specified extent or character, or adapted for a specified purpose. lit.and fig.
a. With a and pl. (Now only with attrib. n. or with an adj. indicating relative position or change of level.)
c1400 (▸1391) Chaucer Treat. Astrolabe (Cambr. Dd.3.53) (1872) ii. §29. 39 Lat thyn Astrelabie kowch adown euene vp-on a smothe grond.
1535 Bible (Coverdale) Exod. iii. 5 The place where vpon thou stondest, is an wholy grounde.
1535 Bible (Coverdale) Ps. cvi[i]. 35 He maketh..water sprynges of a drye grounde.
1553 T. Wilson Arte Rhetorique (1580) 225, I feare none, because I stande uppon a saufe grounde.
1577–87 R. Holinshed Chron. III. 823/1 The king..lodged within 3 miles of the citie in a corne ground up the river.
1619 E. M. Bolton tr. Florus Rom. Hist. 117 Hee..did beat the enemie from a ground of aduantage.
1662 B. Gerbier Brief Disc. Princ. Building 14 On a low ground by the River side.
1707 J. Freind Acct. Earl of Peterborow's Conduct 215 The Country..was full of little rising Grounds and Valleys.
1777 W. Robertson Hist. Amer. (1783) II. 61 Tribes seated on..hunting-grounds abounding so much with game, that they have a regular and plentiful supply of nourishment with little labour.
1805 Med. & Physical Jrnl. 14 565 That our author may be able to meet Dr. Jackson..on equal grounds.
1855 W. H. Prescott Hist. Reign Philip II of Spain I. i. viii. 267 A level ground, four leagues in breadth, lay between the armies.
1872 J. Yeats Growth Commerce 112 The fishing grounds of Portugal and England were used in common.
1894 J. T. Fowler in St. Adamnan Vita S. Columbae Introd. 59 The spot was on a rising ground in a bend of the Foyle.
b. in generalized sense.
c1436 Libel Eng. Policy in Pol. Poems (Rolls) II. 192 Lytelle wenythe the fole..What woo it were for alle this Englysshe grounde.
1533 J. Fitzherbert Bk. Husbandry §6 In tough cley, and vpon hylly ground.
1568 (▸a1508) W. Kennedy Flyting (Bannatyne) in P. Bawcutt Poems W. Dunbar (1998) I. 209 Out of Dumbar that theif he maid exyle Vnto Edward and Inglis grund agane.
1580 Sir P. Sidney tr. Psalmes David xxvi. vi, I..Sett on plaine ground will thee Jehovah praise.
1611 Bible (King James) Exod. iii. 5 [cf. 1535 Coverdale in a].
a1616 Shakespeare Julius Caesar (1623) iii. i. 192 My credit now stands on such slippery ground.
1639 T. Fuller Hist. Holy Warre iv. xiv. 192 Though he stood on the lower ground in point of birth.
1781 W. Cowper Friendship 34 If..on forbidden ground..We sought without attaining.
a1822 Shelley Masque of Anarchy (1832) lxv. 33 On some spot of English ground.
1853 Tennyson To E. L. 10, I..track'd you still on classic ground.
1888 J. Inglis Tent Life Tigerland 1 The best tiger-shooting ground in the world.
13. With reference to possessor or occupier, denoted by a genitive noun or possessive pronoun.
a. The portion of land forming the property (†or territory) of a person (†or people), or occupied by one as a tenant.
a1400–50 Alexander 188 Ȝour king sall..gett agayn his avyn gronde.
a1400–50 Alexander 1973 Miȝt þou þe marches of Messe~doyne mayntene þi-selfe And gouerne bot þine awen gronde.
c1436 Libel Eng. Policy in Pol. Poems (Rolls) II. 188 Oure grounde there is a lytelle cornere To alle Yrelonde in trewe comparisone.
1533 Presentm. Juries in Surtees Misc. (1888) 34 That every man ryng his swyne, except they kepe theyme of theire owne growinde.
1548 W. Forrest Pleasaunt Poesye 375 in T. Starkey England (1878) i. p. xcv, Hee [sc. the poor man] cannot els lyue so deeare is his grownde.
a1616 Shakespeare Merry Wives of Windsor (1623) ii. ii. 209 Like a fair house, built on another mans ground.
1787 W. Cowper Let. 30 Aug. (1982) III. 19 Mr. T. having long since put me in possession of all his grounds, has now given me possession of his library.
1842 Tennyson Amphion in Poems (new ed.) II. 169 'Tis in my neighbour's ground.
1855 Tennyson Maud xx, in Maud & Other Poems 66 Rivulet crossing my ground.
b. The space upon which a person, etc., takes his stand; the position maintained or defended by one; esp. in phrases to hold one's ground, to keep one's ground, to maintain one's ground, to stand one's ground, to shift one's ground; now usually fig. (sometimes with suggestion of sense 5a).
1616 J. Lane Contin. Squire's Tale (Chaucer Soc.) ix. 176 He fightinge to maintaine Fregilia towne, they bearinge in to make his grown their grown.
1657 A. Sparrow Rationale Bk. Common Prayer (1661) 239 The Church thereby keeping as it were her ground.
1657 R. Ligon True Hist. Barbados 1 A friend, as willing to shift his ground as I, gave me an Overture which I accepted.
1700 Dryden Flower & Leaf in Fables 394 Drawn in two Lines adverse they wheel'd around, And in the middle Meadow took their Ground.
1707 London Gaz. No. 4353/1 The Deserters..stood their Ground, and..fir'd on 'em.
1712 W. Rogers Cruising Voy. 278 We can hardly keep our Ground against the Current.
1797 Instr. & Regulations Cavalry (rev. ed.) App. 234 The commanding officer turns on his own ground.
1801 J. Strutt Glig-gamena Angel-ðeod i. i. 4 The sports of the field still maintained their ground.
1809 B. H. Malkin tr. A. R. Le Sage Adventures Gil Blas I. ii. vii. 287 She met me on my own ground.
1833 H. Martineau Briery Creek v. 113 Here the humblest slave might stand erect on the ground of his humanity.
1856 J. A. Froude Hist. Eng. (1858) I. i. 34 The government was strong enough to hold its ground.
1859 J. S. Mill On Liberty iii. 132 It is not easy to see how it [Individuality] can stand its ground.
1881 B. Jowett tr. Thucydides Hist. Peloponnesian War I. 197, I, like him taking the ground of future expediency, stoutly maintain the contrary position.
a. The particular space or area under consideration, or one used for some special purpose, esp. the scene of any contest, or meeting. off the ground: out of the way. on the ground: engaged in a duel.
c1540 (▸?a1400) Destr. Troy 1174 A noumbur hoge Of Grekes were gedret & þe grounde hade.
c1540 (▸?a1400) Destr. Troy 1352 The Troiens..ffleddon in fere..When the Grekys hade the gre & the grounde wonen.
a1572 J. Knox Hist. Reformation Scotl. in Wks. (1846) I. 115 Content to talk with the Governour, providit that the Cardinall and his cumpany war of the ground.
a1616 Shakespeare Julius Caesar (1623) iv. ii. 49 Bid our Commanders leade their charges off A little from this ground.
1679 Dryden & N. Lee Oedipus iv. 60 I'm too well acquainted with the ground, quite to forget it.
1816 Scott Old Mortality vi, in Tales of my Landlord 1st Ser. II. 132 Why came ye na hame when other folk left the grund?
1836 Dickens Pickwick Papers (1837) iv. 35 There were sentries posted to keep the ground for the troops.
1843 Thackeray Ravenswing vii, in Fraser's Mag. Sept. 327/1 He has been ‘on the ground’ I don't know how many times.
1850 H. T. Cheever Whale & his Captors iii. 60 They had just arrived on the ground, and had not yet taken any whales.
1897 Earl of Suffolk et al. Encycl. Sport I. 72 Ground, a rectangular sheet of ice, measuring not more than 200 yds. × 100 yds. and not less than 100 × 50.
b. Cricket. (a) The space on which the game is played; (b) the space within which a player may lawfully stand while taking a particular part in the game; the (also his, etc.) ground, (of a batsman) = the ground behind the popping-crease; (c)the paid staff of players attached to a club (also ground-staff).
1718 in G. B. Buckley Fresh Light on 18th Cent. Cricket (1935) 2 Three of their men made an elopement and got off the ground without going in.
1733 in H. T. Waghorn Cricket Scores (1899) 6 There will be a line around the ground as usual, within which none but the gamesters are to be allowed.
1774 Laws of Cricket 8 The strikers need not keep within their ground till the Umpire has called Play.
1788 Laws of Cricket 8 This rule is not meant..to prevent the bowler from filling up holes, watering his ground, or using sawdust, &c., when the ground is wet.
1850 ‘Bat’ Cricketer's Man. 78 The..players of ‘the Ground’..act in the..capacity of..umpire.
1857 T. Hughes Tom Brown's School Days ii. viii. 388 He is never in his ground, except when his wicket is down.
1880 Lillywhite's Cricketers' Ann. 49 The ground staff for 1879 at Lord's consisted of [the twenty-two professional players named].
1882 Daily Tel. 27 May His colleague driving the ball into his wicket whilst he was just out of the ground.
1894 Times 23 Mar. 10/2 There are various additions to the ground staff... The list of ‘the ground’ is now as follows.
1955 T. H. Pear Eng. Social Differences xi. 260 Boys of outstanding promise [at cricket] can receive coaching if they take jobs on a club ground-staff.
c. to have the ground on one's side: to have the advantage of position (in a contest.)
1650 N. Ward Discolliminium 1 He knows well that he hath gotten the ground and winde on his side, but I think I have the Sun on my back.
15. In technical uses.
†a. (See quot. 1753.) Obs.
1753 Chambers's Cycl. Suppl. at Bowling, Ground, a bag or handkerchief laid down to mark where a bowl is to go.
b. Telegr. The contact of the conductor of an electric circuit with the earth; the escape of current resulting from this.
1870 F. L. Pope Electr. Telegr. (1872) v. 63 The effect of a ground or escape is..to exhaust the batteries more rapidly.
1883 T. D. Lockwood Electr., Magn., & Electr. Telegr. 138 If an accidental connection with the ground should occur, or, as it is technically said, a ground appears on the wires.
1892 T. O'C. Sloane Standard Electr. Dict. (1893)
a. The soil of the earth. Also without article: Soil, earth, mould; now only in Mining (see quot. 1881) except with descriptive adj. to break ground (see break v. Phrases 3).
a1400 (▸a1325) Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 6747 Theif hus brecand, or gruband grund.
?1523 J. Fitzherbert Bk. Husbandry §10 If the grounde be good, putte the more beanes to the pease.
1547 Certain Serm. or Homilies Misery Mankind i, in J. Griffiths Two Bks. Homilies (1859) i. 16 We may learn to know ourselves to be but ground, earth, and ashes.
1660 T. Willsford Scales Commerce & Trade 196 This Trench (where the labourers first break ground).
1696 tr. J. Dumont New Voy. Levant 131 There are no Woods in it by reason of the shallowness of the Ground.
1700 Moxon's Mech. Exercises: Bricklayers-wks. 17 He ought to dig it deeper till he comes to firm ground; or if it proves to be loose, or made Ground [etc.]
1795 Gentleman's Mag. 65 539/1 The extreme wetness of the ground had delayed the operation of the share.
1881 Trans. Amer. Inst. Mining Engineers May 1880-Feb. 1881 9 143 Ground, the rock in which a vein is found; also, any given portion of the mineral deposit itself.
1884 Public Opinion 12 Sept. 338/1 The loose shale..has moved forward..and carried away both shafts..down to blue ground.
b. With a and pl. A kind or variety of soil. ? Obs.
1398 J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomew de Glanville De Proprietatibus Rerum (1495) xvii. lxv. 642 Corne thryueth in one grounde and faylyth in a nother.
?1523 J. Fitzherbert Bk. Husbandry §2 There be many maner of groundes and soyles. Some whyte cley, somme redde cley [etc.].
1542 A. Borde Compend. Regyment Helth iv. sig. C.iv, Let hym make his fundacyon vpon a graualy grownde myxt with clay.
1583 P. Stubbes Second Pt. Anat. Abuses sig. G2v, They know exactly..what ground is best for euerie kinde of corne.
1626 Bacon Sylua Syluarum §409 In some Grounds which are strong, you shall haue a Raddish, &c. come in a Moneth.
1697 Dryden tr. Virgil Georgics i, in tr. Virgil Wks. 51 This Ground with Bacchus, that with Ceres suits.
1787 G. Winter New Syst. Husbandry 9 When a farmer cannot keep the produce of each ground separate.
ground, n.Pronunciation: /ɡraʊnd/