ground, n.Pronunciation:  /ɡraʊnd/
Forms:  OE–ME (15– Sc.grund, ME–15 grond, (ME gronnde), ME–16 grounde, ME grownd(e, (ME grountgrowende, 15 growindegroune, 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 gruntkrunt(Middle High German gruntgrund-, 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-rgruð-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. 3Obs.
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 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 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 groundfig. 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 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 2aObs.
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. 1837118372.) 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 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 groundto 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 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 45).
?1523   J. Fitzherbert Bk. Husbandry §12   An acre of 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 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 (alsogatherget) ground: to advance, make progress; lit. and fig. (see gain v.2 8gather v. 9get 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 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 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 groundto keep one's groundto maintain one's groundto stand one's groundto 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 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 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.