\ˈnēl \
knelt\ˈnelt \ or kneeled; kneeling

Definition of kneel 

intransitive verb

: to position the body so that one or both knees rest on the floor The prisoners were ordered to kneel. : to fall or rest on the knees She kneeled on the floor next to the child.

Examples of kneel in a Sentence

She was kneeling on the floor beside her child. He was kneeling in front of the altar and praying.

Recent Examples on the Web

Conservatives who did not condone the former NFL player kneeling before the flag in protest of police brutality and other forms of racial injustice, burned Nike apparel and shoes pubically via social media, vowing to no longer support the brand. Amira Rasool, Teen Vogue, "Colin Kaepernick's Nike Ad Made the Brand's Market Value Surge by $6 Billion," 24 Sep. 2018 Two seasons ago Kaepernick began a wave of protests by NFL players, kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Marley Jay, The Seattle Times, "US stocks slip as technology companies open lower," 4 Sep. 2018 Kaepernick began kneeling during the playing of the national anthem before NFL games in 2016, and went unemployed by the league the following two years. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Watch: Nike’s powerful Colin Kaepernick commercial," 5 Sep. 2018 Some people started kneeling because (Trump) said some things,’’ Howard said. David Haugh,, "Quietly, emerging leader Jordan Howard catching onto Bears' new offense," 31 May 2018 The issue of players refusing to stand for the anthem has been a flashpoint for the league since Colin Kaepernick, then San Francisco's quarterback, first began kneeling in 2016 to protest the treatment of blacks in the U.S. by law enforcement. Sam Farmer,, "NFL's new national anthem policy: Players must stand if on field but can opt to stay in locker room," 23 May 2018 Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback, began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, a quiet but powerful protest against police brutality and racial inequities in the justice system that has drawn both praise and scorn., "Stand Or Stay Out of Sight: NFL Takes on Anthem Protesters," 23 May 2018 But the moment was quickly hailed as a defining civil protest, and would serve as an ironic inspiration five decades later for the NFL kneeling protests started by Colin Kaepernick in 2017 that have continued well into 2018. Aja Romano, Vox, "Beyoncé and Jay–Z paid tribute to black athletes — and black power — for Halloween," 1 Nov. 2018 The kneeling protests, started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the 2016-17 NFL season in opposition to police brutality, triggered fierce debates and criticism from Trump. Alex Pappas, Fox News, "Trump rips ESPN and CBS for not broadcasting national anthem: 'What the hell is the NFL doing?'," 24 Aug. 2018

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

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First Known Use of kneel

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kneel

Middle English knelen, from Old English cnēowlian; akin to Old English cnēow knee

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Statistics for kneel

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for kneel

The first known use of kneel was before the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of kneel

: to move your body so that one or both of your knees are on the floor : to be in a position in which both of your knees are on the floor


\ˈnēl \
knelt\ˈnelt \ or kneeled\ˈnēld \; kneeling

Kids Definition of kneel

: to support the body on the knees

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More from Merriam-Webster on kneel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with kneel

Spanish Central: Translation of kneel

Nglish: Translation of kneel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of kneel for Arabic Speakers

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a nest or breeding place

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