Simple Definition of genuflect
: to kneel on one knee and then rise again as an act of respect
: to obey someone with power in a way that is seen as weak
Full Definition of genuflect
1 a : to bend the knee b : to touch the knee to the floor or ground especially in worship
2 : to be servilely obedient or respectful
Examples of genuflect in a sentence
They genuflected before the altar in the church.
Did You Know?
Genuflect is derived from Late Latin genuflectere, formed from the noun "genu" ("knee") and the verb "flectere" ("to bend"). "Flectere" is an ancestor of a number of common verbs in English, such as "reflect" ("to throw back light or sound") and "deflect" ("to turn aside"). By comparison "genu" sees little use in English, but it did give us "geniculate," a word often used in scientific contexts to mean "bent abruptly at an angle like a bent knee." Despite the resemblance, words such as "genius" and "genuine" are not related to "genuflect"; instead, they are of a family that includes the Latin verb gignere, meaning "to beget."
Origin of genuflect
Late Latin genuflectere, from Latin genu knee + flectere to bend — more at knee
First Known Use: 1630
Rhymes with genuflect
acrolect, architect, birth defect, circumspect, deselect, dialect, disaffect, disconnect, disinfect, disrespect, edge effect, grapholect, incorrect, indirect, in effect, intellect, interject, intersect, introject, introspect, lake effect, misdirect, preselect, re-collect, recollect, redirect, reelect, resurrect, retrospect, self-respect, side effect, turtlenecked, vivisect
GENUFLECT Defined for Kids
Definition of genuflect for Students
: to kneel on one knee and rise again as an act of deep respect (as in a church)
Seen and Heard
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