Definition of groundling in English:


Syllabification: ground·ling
Pronunciation: /ˈgroundliNG


  • 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'.

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