genuflect

play
verb gen·u·flect \ˈjen-yə-ˌflekt\

Definition of genuflect

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1a :  to bend the kneeb :  to touch the knee to the floor or ground especially in worship genuflected before the altar

  3. 2 :  to be humbly obedient or respectful bureaucrats who genuflect before the governor

genuflection

play \ˌjen-yə-ˈflek-shən\ noun

genuflect was our Word of the Day on 02/28/2017. Hear the podcast!

Examples of genuflect in a Sentence

  1. They genuflected before the altar in the church.

Recent Examples of genuflect from the Web

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.

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 and Etymology of genuflect

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


GENUFLECT Defined for English Language Learners

genuflect

play
verb

Definition of genuflect for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

genuflect

play
verb gen·u·flect \ˈjen-yə-ˌflekt\

Definition of genuflect for Students

genuflected

;

genuflecting

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



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to counsel, recommend, or inform

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