Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

obeisance

play
noun obei·sance \ō-ˈbē-sən(t)s, ə-, -ˈbā-\

Simple Definition of obeisance

  • : a movement of your body (such as bowing) that shows respect for someone or something

  • : respect for someone or something

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of obeisance

  1. 1 :  a movement of the body made in token of respect or submission :  bow

  2. 2 :  acknowledgment of another's superiority or importance :  homage <makes obeisance to her mentors>

obeisant

play \-sənt\ adjective

obeisantly

adverb

Did You Know?

When it first appeared in English in the late 14th century, "obeisance" shared the same meaning as "obedience." This makes sense given that "obeisance" can be traced back to the Anglo-French verb obeir, which means "to obey" and is also an ancestor of our word obey. The other senses of "obeisance" also date from the 14th century, but they have stood the test of time whereas the obedience sense is now obsolete.

Origin and Etymology of obeisance

Middle English obeisaunce obedience, obeisance, from Anglo-French obeisance, from obeissant, present participle of obeir to obey


First Known Use: 14th century




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up obeisance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a very small amount

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alphabet-pasta-spelling-help

Which is the correct spelling?

acommadate accomodate acommodate accommodate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ