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Go to ground

Go to ground means to hide, to become inaccessible, to disappear from the scene, often for a lengthy period of time. Originally, go to ground was a foxhunting term, meaning that the fox in question had escaped into a burrow or underground den. In the 1960s, the term go to ground was first used figuratively, to describe someone who has gone into hiding. Today, go to ground is often used when discussing sports or military concerns. Related terms are goes to ground, gone to ground, going to ground, went to ground. The idiom probably gained a boost in popularity in 2003 when Saddam Hussein was found after a long hunt, hiding in an underground lair, quite literally having gone to ground.


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Examples

Gwynne knew if her team approached Murdoch directly he would go to ground. (The Guardian)

Fishermen go to ground after massive tiger shark caught off Swansea (The Sydney Morning Herald)

More than likely, as the caliphate is whittled down, the group will go to ground and take its place alongside the other Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish semi-autonomous militias and terror organizations operating in lawless and dysfunctional Arab states. (The Wall Street Journal)

Setting aside us unfashionable elitists, it is now admitted that the Leave campaign was glaringly mendacious (think of the Brexit bus plastered with its £350m lie) and the perpetrators of the lies have now, predictably, gone to ground, washing their hands of the mess they have wished upon us. (The New Statesman)

Since the Premier’s announcement a week ago, Justice McHugh has gone to ground, refusing to respond to any media. (The Australian)

They are the “Horsemen” who had gone to ground after the last movie but now are bamboozled and chivvied and sort of zugzwanged into breaking cover for a new spectacular job at the behest of the creepy young billionaire played by a bearded Daniel Radcliffe. (The Myanmar Times)

The heat has intensified and the odd wasp has given up and gone to ground. (The Herald Scotland)

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