grov·el (grŏvəl, grŭv-)
intr.v. grov·eled, grov·el·ing, grov·els also grov·elled or grov·el·ling
1. To behave in a servile or obsequious manner.
2. To lie or creep in a prostrate position, as in subservience or humility.
3. To give oneself over to base pleasures: "Have we not groveled here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?" (Walt Whitman).
[Back-formation from obsolete groveling, prone, face downward, from Middle English : (on) grufe, face downwards (from Old Norse ā grūfu, from grūfa, to grovel) + -ling, adv. suff.; see -LING2.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.