1. The surface of the earth; the outer crust of the globe, or some indefinite portion of it. "There was not a man to till the ground." (Gen. Ii. 5) "The fire ran along upon the ground." (Ex. Ix. 23) Hence:
2. Any definite portion of the earth's surface; region; territory; country. Hence: A territory appropriated to, or resorted to, for a particular purpose; the field or place of action; as, a hunting or fishing ground; a play ground. "From . . . Old Euphrates, to the brook that parts Egypt from Syrian ground." (Milton)
3. Land; estate; possession; field; especially. (pl), the gardens, lawns, fields, etc, belonging to a homestead; as, the grounds of the estate are well kept. "Thy next design is on thy neighbor's grounds." (Dryden. 4)
4. The basis on which anything rests; foundation. Hence: The foundation of knowledge, belief, or conviction; a premise, reason, or datum; ultimate or first principle; cause of existence or occurrence; originating force or agency; as, the ground of my hope.
5. That surface upon which the figures of a composition are set, and which relieves them by its plainness, being either of one tint or of tints but slightly contrasted with one another; as, crimson Bowers on a white ground. See Background, Foreground, and Middle-ground. In sculpture, a flat surface upon which figures are raised in relief.
8. A composition in which the bass, consisting of a few bars of independent notes, is continually repeated to a varying melody. The tune on which descants are raised; the plain song. "On that ground I'll build a holy descant." (Shak)
11. The pit of a theater. Ground angling, angling with a weighted line without a float. Ground annual, a small California bird (Chamaea fasciata) allied to the wrens and titmice. It inhibits the arid plains. Called also gronnd tit, and wren lit. To bite the ground, To break ground. See Bite, Break. To come to the ground, To fall to the ground, to come to nothing; to fail; to miscarry. To gain ground. To advance; to proceed forward in confict; as, an army in battle gains ground. To obtain an advantage; to have some success; as, the army gains ground on the enemy. To gain credit; to become more prosperous or influential. To get, or To gather, ground, to gain ground. "Evening mist . . . Gathers ground fast." . "There is no way for duty to prevail, and get ground of them, but by bidding higher." (South) To give ground, to recede; to yield advantage. "These nine . . . Began to give me ground." (Shak) To lose ground, to retire; to retreat; to withdraw from the position taken; hence, to lose advantage; to lose credit or reputation; to decline. To stand one's ground, to stand firm; to resist attack or encroachment. To take the ground to touch bottom or become stranded; said of a ship.
Origin: OE. Ground, grund, AS. Grund; akin to D. Grond, OS, G, Sw, & Dan. Grund, Icel. Grunnr bottom, Goth. Grundus (in composition); perh. Orig. Meaning, dust, gravel, and if so perh. Akin to E. Grind.
2. To found; to fix or set, as on a foundation, reason, or principle; to furnish a ground for; to fix firmly. "Being rooted and grounded in love." (Eph. Iii. 17) "So far from warranting any inference to the existence of a God, would, on the contrary, ground even an argument to his negation." (Sir W. Hamilton)
Origin: Grounded; Grounding.
(01 Mar 1998)
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