From Crispin: At the Edge of the World By Avi:

The man set the mazers down and dropped the bread. (on the table) ........... .............

"I say you're an informer!" cried the man. “A traitor to the brotherhood!” He turned then, and with a broad stroke of his hand and arm, swept bowls and bread away, sending all aground.

I looked up the dictionary and know the meaning of 'aground' to be 'to become stuck'. Then, how should I interpret the bold phrase here?

  • 2
    I think aground has had only a nautical meaning in standard English for several centuries now (ships or icebergs getting stuck on the ocean floor). The meaning "on the ground" or "by foot" seems to be found only in regional dialects, and to have run aground a century ago. I cannot find any examples, so far, where it means "to the floor / to the ground". So I think the author may be taking some license here, to create a sense of historical verisimilitude.
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 20:44

1 Answer 1


In this specific case with regard to the bowls and bread he is knocking them off the table they go towards the ground. A naval example is best when describing aground.

"the ships must slow to avoid running aground"

Basically, the man knocked everything on the table off and the items hit the ground.

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