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    • Join Date: May 2008
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    the verb "ground"


    Sorry, I can't go out, I'm grounded.

    Do British English speakers use "ground" in the following sense?
    to stop a child going out with their friends as a punishment for behaving badly:
    I got home at 2 am and Dad grounded me on the spot.
    ground - Definition from Longman English Dictionary Online

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    Re: the verb "ground"

    Yes - but the commonness of using it as a punishment for children is something I think we picked up from America. I was never grounded for example, but not because I was particularly obedient.

    The origin of the term, however - which shows where the term came from - is, I think, British - in the RAF a pilot who had misbehaved would be grounded (given duties on the ground, and not allowed to fly).

    Students at residential places of study (universities, but also boarding schools) have a similar restriction placed on them, but in a 'two-dimensional' sense: they are 'gated'.


  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    Re: the verb "ground"

    Yes, "to ground" (< French, gronder) does signify such a reprimand, or punishment, usually akin to imprisonment, or house arrest. :)

    Also, another identically spelled verb "to ground" (< Anglo-Saxon) can mean to base, to found, to originate, or alternatively, in electricity, to connect to the ground, or earth.

    These separate origins are why I'm not so sure about the hypotheses above regarding the exact origins of the term: it seems to me the children's sense is from French, whereas the RAF sense should be a good old material reference to the earth.

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