grope

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grope in the dark

1. Literally, to feel about without the use of one's eyes, as due to blindness or an absence of light. I was groping in the dark down in this basement for ten minutes before I could find a light switch.
2. To seek (something) in a blind, aimless, or uncertain manner, especially to find a solution, meaning, or sense of purpose. We've been groping in the dark for a way to pay our mortgage, but I just don't see how we'll be able to afford it. Pretty much everyone gropes in the dark at some point or another, trying to figure out the meaning of life.
See also: dark, grope

grope (about) (for someone or something)

 and grope (around) (for someone or something)
to feel around blindly for someone or something. In the darkness, he groped about for his glasses. Fran groped for the light switch and found it.

grope after someone or something

to reach for a departing or fleeing person or thing awkwardly or ineffectually. The feeble hand groped after the departing form. I groped after the cat as it ran under the bed.
See also: after, grope

grope (around)

(for someone or something) Go to grope (about) (for someone or something).

grope at someone or something

to reach for someone or something blindly. She groped feebly at the form she could hardly see. Sharon groped at Frank as he ran out to get the doctor.
See also: grope

group-grope

n. a real or imagined group of people engaged in sexual activities. That party turned into a hopeless group-grope.
References in classic literature ?
I groped my way to the door, and putting my own lips to the keyhole, whispered: 'Is that you, Peggotty dear?
The staircase was so dark, at first, that I could only just see the forms of the children, as, hand-in-hand, they groped their way down after their guide: but it got lighter every moment, with a strange silvery brightness, that seemed to exist in the air, as there were no lamps visible; and, when at last we reached a level floor, the room, in which we found ourselves, was almost as light as day.
He babbled about incalculable sums, fancied himself engaged in money digging, threw the bedclothes right and left, in the idea that he was shoveling away the dirt, groped under the bed in quest of the treasure, and lugged forth, as he supposed, an inestimable pot of gold.
Shaking in every limb, I groped my way back to the wall; resolving there to perish rather than risk the terrors of the wells, of which my imagination now pictured many in various positions about the dungeon.
But the treachery of Madame de Cintre herself amazed and confounded him; there was a key to the mystery, of course, but he groped for it in vain.
She, however, having groped in dark cupboards, must have had her pupils sufficiently dilated to have seen that I had my hat on my head.
Finding everything still, he marched into the kitchen, and groped about till he found a match in order to light a candle; and then, espying the glittering fiery eyes of the cat, he mistook them for live coals, and held the match to them to light it.
We had no means of making a light, and so groped our way slowly into the ever-increasing darkness, Tars Tarkas keeping in touch with one wall while I felt along the other, while, to prevent our wandering into diverging branches and becoming separated or lost in some intricate and labyrinthine maze, we clasped hands.
With an exclamation of delight I sprang forward to partake of some of the welcome food, but ere ever I reached it the light was extinguished, and, though I groped my way about the chamber, my hands came in contact with nothing beside the smooth, hard wall that I had felt on my first examination of my prison.
Accordingly Good, who, from long practice at sea, has a fine piercing note, groped his way down the passage and set to work.
I groped in the direction of the sounds, feeling for the hole.
Slowly he groped his way along, feeling with his hands upon the tunnel's walls, and cautiously with his feet ahead of him upon the floor before he could take a single forward step.
For ten minutes they groped slowly along a winding passage, until at length they came to a closed door.
And no man had groped so obstinately nor so enduringly.
He spoke no more; but, after a pause, softly groped his way out of the room, and up the echoing stairs--up to the top--to the front garret--where he closed the door behind him, and remained.