genuflect

verb
gen·u·flect | \ˈjen-yə-ˌflekt \
genuflected; genuflecting; genuflects

Definition of genuflect 

intransitive verb

1a : to bend the knee

b : to touch the knee to the floor or ground especially in worship genuflected before the altar

2 : to be humbly obedient or respectful bureaucrats who genuflect before the governor

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from genuflect

genuflection \ˌjen-yə-ˈflek-shən \ noun

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."

Examples of genuflect in a Sentence

They genuflected before the altar in the church.

Recent Examples on the Web

But this time, instead of letting politicians settle into the same old pattern of actively doing nothing and genuflecting to the National Rifle Association, fresh-faced young people have been relentlessly demanding more gun control. The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board, sacbee, "Schools worried about the National School Walkout are missing the point of democracy," 14 Mar. 2018 But this time, instead of letting politicians settle into the same old pattern of actively doing nothing and genuflecting to the National Rifle Association, fresh-faced young people have been relentlessly demanding more gun control. The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board, sacbee, "Schools worried about the National School Walkout are missing the point of democracy," 14 Mar. 2018 But this time, instead of letting politicians settle into the same old pattern of actively doing nothing and genuflecting to the National Rifle Association, fresh-faced young people have been relentlessly demanding more gun control. The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board, sacbee, "Schools worried about the National School Walkout are missing the point of democracy," 14 Mar. 2018 But this time, instead of letting politicians settle into the same old pattern of actively doing nothing and genuflecting to the National Rifle Association, fresh-faced young people have been relentlessly demanding more gun control. The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board, sacbee, "Schools worried about the National School Walkout are missing the point of democracy," 14 Mar. 2018 The relentless pace of war allows no time to grieve or genuflect. Justin Barrasso, SI.com, "United States War Veterans Find Refuge, Second Chance At Life In Wrestling Ring," 2 Apr. 2018 In a photo from the event, Rippon is seen genuflecting before the Drag Race host during the ball. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Adam Rippon Kneeled Before His Queen RuPaul & Gave His Mom a Shout-Out at the Time 100 Gala," 25 Apr. 2018 With the largest population of Ethiopian immigrants to the United States living in Washington, D.C., strangers on the street there sometimes look at him, recognize the late emperor, and reflexively genuflect in some way. Michael Joseph Gross, Vanities, "“There’s Nothing Wrong with Falling from Grace”: The Global Network of Monarchists Helping Deposed Kings and Queens," 27 Apr. 2018 After the match, Nakamura kneeled as if to genuflect before the champ, but then turned heel, hitting Styles with a low blow and leaving him laying. Jay Reddick, OrlandoSentinel.com, "WrestleMania 34 recap: Lesnar beats Reigns; Rousey, Styles win," 9 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'genuflect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of genuflect

1630, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for genuflect

Late Latin genuflectere, from Latin genu knee + flectere to bend — more at knee entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about genuflect

Listen to Our Podcast about genuflect

Dictionary Entries near genuflect

gentry

gents

genty

genuflect

genuflectory

genuine

genuinely

Statistics for genuflect

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for genuflect

The first known use of genuflect was in 1630

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for genuflect

genuflect

verb

English Language Learners 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

genuflect

verb
gen·u·flect | \ˈjen-yə-ˌflekt \
genuflected; genuflecting

Kids Definition of genuflect

: to kneel on one knee and rise again as an act of deep respect (as in a church)

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on genuflect

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!