Definition of groundling in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɡroundliNG/


1A spectator or reader of inferior taste, such as a member of a theater audience who traditionally stood in the pit below the stage: Dante is not for groundlings
With reference to Shakespeare's Hamlet iii. ii. 11
More example sentences
  • Egeon's trial takes place at the front of the stage, with the old man standing among the groundlings defending himself from threatened execution.
  • Standing amid the groundlings in front of the stage was a tall, grey, benignly smiling man.
  • The best part of the experience though was its immediacy: in open air, daylight and with the ‘front row’ of groundlings leaning on the stage, there was an easy exchange between actors and audience.
2A person on the ground as opposed to one in a spacecraft or aircraft.
3A fish that lives at the bottom of lakes and streams, especially a gudgeon or loach.
4A creeping or dwarf plant.


Early 17th century (denoting a fish): from ground1 + -ling; compare with Dutch grondeling, German Gründling 'gudgeon'.

Words that rhyme with groundling


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ground·ling

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