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Word of the Day : December 1, 2011

genuflect

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verb JEN-yuh-flekt

Definition

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

As part of the wedding ceremony, the couple genuflected before the altar.

"You imagine how frustrating it is for those watching and waiting to genuflect at the altar of the game's best pitcher -- but their primary glimpse of him for the second straight game is sitting dejectedly in the dugout…." -- From an article by Drew Sharp in the Detroit Free Press (Michigan), October 9, 2011



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."

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