To break ground

To break ground
ground ground (ground), n. [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.] 1. The surface of the earth; the outer crust of the globe, or some indefinite portion of it. [1913 Webster]

There was not a man to till the ground. --Gen. ii. 5. [1913 Webster]

The fire ran along upon the ground. --Ex. ix. 23. Hence: A floor or pavement supposed to rest upon the earth. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

From . . . old Euphrates, to the brook that parts Egypt from Syrian ground. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

3. Land; estate; possession; field; esp. (pl.), the gardens, lawns, fields, etc., belonging to a homestead; as, the grounds of the estate are well kept. [1913 Webster]

Thy next design is on thy neighbor's grounds. --Dryden. 4. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

5. (Paint. & Decorative Art) (a) 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}. (b) In sculpture, a flat surface upon which figures are raised in relief. (c) In point lace, the net of small meshes upon which the embroidered pattern is applied; as, Brussels ground. See {Brussels lace}, under {Brussels}. [1913 Webster]

6. (Etching) A gummy composition spread over the surface of a metal to be etched, to prevent the acid from eating except where an opening is made by the needle. [1913 Webster]

7. (Arch.) One of the pieces of wood, flush with the plastering, to which moldings, etc., are attached; -- usually in the plural. [1913 Webster]

Note: Grounds are usually put up first and the plastering floated flush with them. [1913 Webster]

8. (Mus.) (a) A composition in which the bass, consisting of a few bars of independent notes, is continually repeated to a varying melody. (b) The tune on which descants are raised; the plain song. --Moore (Encyc.). [1913 Webster]

On that ground I'll build a holy descant. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

9. (Elec.) A conducting connection with the earth, whereby the earth is made part of an electrical circuit. [1913 Webster]

10. pl. Sediment at the bottom of liquors or liquids; dregs; lees; feces; as, coffee grounds. [1913 Webster]

11. The pit of a theater. [Obs.] --B. Jonson. [1913 Webster]

{Ground angling}, angling with a weighted line without a float.

{Ground annual} (Scots Law), an estate created in land by a vassal who instead of selling his land outright reserves an annual ground rent, which becomes a perpetual charge upon the land.

{Ground ash}. (Bot.) See {Groutweed}.

{Ground bailiff} (Mining), a superintendent of mines. --Simmonds.

{Ground bait}, bits of bread, boiled barley or worms, etc., thrown into the water to collect the fish, --Wallon.

{Ground bass} or {Ground base} (Mus.), fundamental base; a fundamental base continually repeated to a varied melody.

{Ground beetle} (Zo["o]l.), one of numerous species of carnivorous beetles of the family {Carabid[ae]}, living mostly in burrows or under stones, etc.

{Ground chamber}, a room on the ground floor.

{Ground cherry}. (Bot.) (a) A genus ({Physalis}) of herbaceous plants having an inflated calyx for a seed pod: esp., the strawberry tomato ({Physalis Alkekengi}). See {Alkekengl}. (b) A European shrub ({Prunus Cham[ae]cerasus}), with small, very acid fruit.

{Ground cuckoo}. (Zo["o]l.) See {Chaparral cock}.

{Ground cypress}. (Bot.) See {Lavender cotton}.

{Ground dove} (Zo["o]l.), one of several small American pigeons of the genus {Columbigallina}, esp. {C. passerina} of the Southern United States, Mexico, etc. They live chiefly on the ground.

{Ground fish} (Zo["o]l.), any fish which constantly lives on the botton of the sea, as the sole, turbot, halibut.

{Ground floor}, the floor of a house most nearly on a level with the ground; -- called also in America, but not in England, the {first floor}.

{Ground form} (Gram.), the stem or basis of a word, to which the other parts are added in declension or conjugation. It is sometimes, but not always, the same as the root.

{Ground furze} (Bot.), a low slightly thorny, leguminous shrub ({Ononis arvensis}) of Europe and Central Asia,; -- called also {rest-harrow}.

{Ground game}, hares, rabbits, etc., as distinguished from winged game.

{Ground hele} (Bot.), a perennial herb ({Veronica officinalis}) with small blue flowers, common in Europe and America, formerly thought to have curative properties.

{Ground of the heavens} (Astron.), the surface of any part of the celestial sphere upon which the stars may be regarded as projected.

{Ground hemlock} (Bot.), the yew ({Taxus baccata} var. Canadensisi) of eastern North America, distinguished from that of Europe by its low, straggling stems.

{Ground hog}. (Zo["o]l.) (a) The woodchuck or American marmot ({Arctomys monax}). See {Woodchuck}. (b) The aardvark.

{Ground hold} (Naut.), ground tackle. [Obs.] --Spenser.

{Ground ice}, ice formed at the bottom of a body of water before it forms on the surface.

{Ground ivy}. (Bot.) A trailing plant; alehoof. See {Gill}.

{Ground joist}, a joist for a basement or ground floor; a. sleeper.

{Ground lark} (Zo["o]l.), the European pipit. See {Pipit}.

{Ground laurel} (Bot.). See {Trailing arbutus}, under {Arbutus}.

{Ground line} (Descriptive Geom.), the line of intersection of the horizontal and vertical planes of projection.

{Ground liverwort} (Bot.), a flowerless plant with a broad flat forking thallus and the fruit raised on peduncled and radiated receptacles ({Marchantia polymorpha}).

{Ground mail}, in Scotland, the fee paid for interment in a churchyard.

{Ground mass} (Geol.), the fine-grained or glassy base of a rock, in which distinct crystals of its constituents are embedded.

{Ground parrakeet} (Zo["o]l.), one of several Australian parrakeets, of the genera {Callipsittacus} and {Geopsittacus}, which live mainly upon the ground.

{Ground pearl} (Zo["o]l.), an insect of the family {Coccid[ae]} ({Margarodes formicarum}), found in ants' nests in the Bahamas, and having a shelly covering. They are strung like beads, and made into necklaces by the natives.

{Ground pig} (Zo["o]l.), a large, burrowing, African rodent ({Aulacodus Swinderianus}) about two feet long, allied to the porcupines but with harsh, bristly hair, and no spines; -- called also {ground rat}.

{Ground pigeon} (Zo["o]l.), one of numerous species of pigeons which live largely upon the ground, as the tooth-billed pigeon ({Didunculus strigirostris}), of the Samoan Islands, and the crowned pigeon, or goura. See {Goura}, and {Ground dove} (above).

{Ground pine}. (Bot.) (a) A blue-flowered herb of the genus {Ajuga} ({A. Cham[ae]pitys}), formerly included in the genus {Teucrium} or germander, and named from its resinous smell. --Sir J. Hill. (b) A long, creeping, evergreen plant of the genus {Lycopodium} ({L. clavatum}); -- called also {club moss}. (c) A tree-shaped evergreen plant about eight inches in height, of the same genus ({L. dendroideum}) found in moist, dark woods in the northern part of the United States. --Gray.

{Ground plan} (Arch.), a plan of the ground floor of any building, or of any floor, as distinguished from an elevation or perpendicular section.

{Ground plane}, the horizontal plane of projection in perspective drawing.

{Ground plate}. (a) (Arch.) One of the chief pieces of framing of a building; a timber laid horizontally on or near the ground to support the uprights; a ground sill or groundsel. (b) (Railroads) A bed plate for sleepers or ties; a mudsill. (c) (Teleg.) A metallic plate buried in the earth to conduct the electric current thereto. Connection to the pipes of a gas or water main is usual in cities. --Knight.

{Ground plot}, the ground upon which any structure is erected; hence, any basis or foundation; also, a ground plan.

{Ground plum} (Bot.), a leguminous plant ({Astragalus caryocarpus}) occurring from the Saskatchewan to Texas, and having a succulent plum-shaped pod.

{Ground rat}. (Zo["o]l.) See {Ground pig} (above).

{Ground rent}, rent paid for the privilege of building on another man's land.

{Ground robin}. (Zo["o]l.) See {Chewink}.

{Ground room}, a room on the ground floor; a lower room. --Tatler.

{Ground sea}, the West Indian name for a swell of the ocean, which occurs in calm weather and without obvious cause, breaking on the shore in heavy roaring billows; -- called also {rollers}, and in Jamaica, {the North sea}.

{Ground sill}. See {Ground plate} (a) (above).

{Ground snake} (Zo["o]l.), a small burrowing American snake ({Celuta am[oe]na}). It is salmon colored, and has a blunt tail.

{Ground squirrel}. (Zo["o]l.) (a) One of numerous species of burrowing rodents of the genera {Tamias} and {Spermophilus}, having cheek pouches. The former genus includes the Eastern striped squirrel or chipmunk and some allied Western species; the latter includes the prairie squirrel or striped gopher, the gray gopher, and many allied Western species. See {Chipmunk}, and {Gopher}. (b) Any species of the African genus {Xerus}, allied to {Tamias}.

{Ground story}. Same as {Ground floor} (above).

{Ground substance} (Anat.), the intercellular substance, or matrix, of tissues.

{Ground swell}. (a) (Bot.) The plant groundsel. [Obs.] --Holland. (b) A broad, deep swell or undulation of the ocean, caused by a long continued gale, and felt even at a remote distance after the gale has ceased.

{Ground table}. (Arch.) See Earth table, under Earth.

{Ground tackle} (Naut.), the tackle necessary to secure a vessel at anchor. --Totten.

{Ground thrush} (Zo["o]l.), one of numerous species of bright-colored Oriental birds of the family {Pittid[ae]}. See {Pitta}.

{Ground tier}. (a) The lowest tier of water casks in a vessel's hold. --Totten. (b) The lowest line of articles of any kind stowed in a vessel's hold. (c) The lowest range of boxes in a theater.

{Ground timbers} (Shipbuilding) the timbers which lie on the keel and are bolted to the keelson; floor timbers. --Knight.

{Ground tit}. (Zo["o]l.) See {Ground wren} (below).

{Ground wheel}, that wheel of a harvester, mowing machine, etc., which, rolling on the ground, drives the mechanism.

{Ground wren} (Zo["o]l.), a small California bird ({Cham[ae]a fasciata}) allied to the wrens and titmice. It inhabits the arid plains. Called also {ground tit}, and {wren tit}.

{To bite the ground}, {To break ground}. See under {Bite}, {Break}.

{To come to the ground}, {To fall to the ground}, to come to nothing; to fail; to miscarry.

{To gain ground}. (a) To advance; to proceed forward in conflict; as, an army in battle gains ground. (b) To obtain an advantage; to have some success; as, the army gains ground on the enemy. (c) To gain credit; to become more prosperous or influential.

{To get ground}, or {To gather ground}, to gain ground. [R.] ``Evening mist . . . gathers ground fast.'' --Milton. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

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. --Atterbury.{To take the ground} to touch bottom or become stranded; -- said of a ship. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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  • break ground — US ► PROPERTY to start building a new building, or to start being built: break ground on sth »The company recently broke ground on its new manufacturing facility in Virginia Beach, VA. »The new medical center is expected to break ground in May.… …   Financial and business terms

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  • Break ground —   If you break ground, or break new ground, you make progress, taking things into a new area or going further than anyone has gone before.    Ground breaking is used an adjective …   Dictionary of English idioms

  • To break ground — Break Break (br[=a]k), v. t. [imp. {broke} (br[=o]k), (Obs. {Brake}); p. p. {Broken} (br[=o] k n), (Obs. {Broke}); p. pr. & vb. n. {Breaking}.] [OE. breken, AS. brecan; akin to OS. brekan, D. breken, OHG. brehhan, G. brechen, Icel. braka to creak …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • break ground — {v. phr.} To begin a construction project by digging for the foundation; especially, to turn the formal first spadeful of dirt. * /City officials and industrial leaders were there as the company broke ground for its new building./ See: BREAK NEW… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • break ground — {v. phr.} To begin a construction project by digging for the foundation; especially, to turn the formal first spadeful of dirt. * /City officials and industrial leaders were there as the company broke ground for its new building./ See: BREAK NEW… …   Dictionary of American idioms

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