in the groove


  1. a long, narrow cut or indentation in a surface, as the cut in a board to receive the tongue of another board (tongue-and-groove joint), a furrow, or a natural indentation on an organism.
  2. the track or channel of a phonograph record for the needle or stylus.
  3. a fixed routine: to get into a groove.
  4. Printing. the furrow at the bottom of a piece of type.
  5. Slang. an enjoyable time or experience.

verb (used with object), grooved, groov·ing.

  1. to cut a groove in; furrow.
  2. Slang.
    1. to appreciate and enjoy.
    2. to please immensely.

verb (used without object), grooved, groov·ing.

  1. Slang.
    1. to take great pleasure; enjoy oneself: He was grooving on the music.
    2. to get along or interact well.
  2. to fix in a groove.
  1. in the groove, Slang.
    1. in perfect functioning order.
    2. in the popular fashion; up-to-date: If you want to be in the groove this summer, you’ll need a bikini.


  1. a long narrow channel or furrow, esp one cut into wood by a tool
  2. the spiral channel, usually V-shaped, in a gramophone recordSee also microgroove
  3. one of the spiral cuts in the bore of a gun
  4. anatomy any furrow or channel on a bodily structure or part; sulcus
  5. mountaineering a shallow fissure in a rock face or between two rock faces, forming an angle of more than 120°
  6. a settled existence, routine, etc, to which one is suited or accustomed, esp one from which it is difficult to escape
  7. slang an experience, event, etc, that is groovy
  8. in the groove
    1. jazzplaying well and apparently effortlessly, with a good beat, etc
    2. USfashionable


  1. (tr) to form or cut a groove in
  2. (intr) old-fashioned, slang to enjoy oneself or feel in rapport with one’s surroundings
  3. (intr) jazz to play well, with a good beat, etc

c.1400, “cave, mine, pit” (late 13c. in place names), from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse grod “pit,” or from Middle Dutch groeve “furrow, ditch,” both from Proto-Germanic *grobo (cf. Old Norse grof “brook, river bed,” Old High German gruoba “ditch,” Gothic groba “pit, cave,” Old English græf “ditch”), related to grave (n.). Sense of “long, narrow channel or furrow” is 1650s. Meaning “spiral cut in a phonograph record” is from 1902. Figurative sense of “routine” is from 1842, often deprecatory at first, “a rut.”


1680s, “make a groove,” from groove (n.). Slang sense is from late 1930s. Related: Grooved; grooving.


  1. A rut, groove, or narrow depression or channel in a surface.

Performing very well, excellent; also, in fashion, up-to-date. For example, The band was slowly getting in the groove, or To be in the groove this year you’ll have to get a fake fur coat. This idiom originally alluded to running accurately in a channel, or groove. It was taken up by jazz musicians in the 1920s and later began to be used more loosely. A variant, back in the groove, means “returning to one’s old self,” as in He was very ill but now he’s back in the groove. [Slang; mid-1800s]

see in the groove.

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