grovel in

grovel in (something)

1. To interact with someone in an overtly agreeable or deferential manner, usually with a particular aim (indicated after "in"). Well, if your mother's mad at me, I guess I'm going to have to grovel in apology—we want this family dinner to be pleasant, after all.
2. To show one's respect or deference by lying down on the ground in some specific substance. I won't grovel in filth for anyone! Come on, stop groveling in the dirt. Have a little more self-respect than that.
See also: grovel
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

grovel (about) in something

to wallow around in the dirt, etc., while prostrating oneself. The poor fellow groveled about in the mud, trying to keep from being beaten. Why are you there, groveling in the dust?
See also: grovel
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in classic literature ?
Either to be a hero or to grovel in the mud--there was nothing between.
In view of the situation that now reigns in Hollywood, as you so aptly describe it, The Passion is far above and beyond the values espoused by the personages who grovel in Hollywood.
Just think of it: Who else has to wear all those "tools of ignorance," grovel in the dirt for all those 55-feet curveballs and wild pitches, call all the pitches, and direct eight other players on the field.
In that tragic land, the privileged ruling class, the Communist Party's nomenklatura, live in regal splendor while the toiling masses grovel in wretched servitude.