\ ˈnēl How to pronounce kneel (audio) \
knelt\ ˈnelt How to pronounce knelt (audio) \ 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 Kaepernick, who hasn’t played since the 2016 season with the 49ers helped start a wave of protests with his decision to kneel during the national anthem before games., "Watch: Colin Kaepernick’s workout," 17 Nov. 2019 In 2017, Kaepernick accused the league of blackballing him because of his decision to kneel during the national anthem. Ken Belson, New York Times, "Colin Kaepernick’s Workout Derailed by Dispute With N.F.L.," 16 Nov. 2019 His supporters have generally cited his decision to kneel on the sidelines during the national anthem as the reason why owners are wary of signing him. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "Broncos expected to be represented at Colin Kaepernick’s workout, source says," 13 Nov. 2019 There she was forced to kneel down for her hair to be cut and her body sprayed red. Rachael Bunyan, Time, "Bolivian Mayor Has Hair Forcibly Cut by Masked Protesters as Post-Election Violence Continues," 7 Nov. 2019 Cromartie was the first Colts player to kneel during the Week 3 game. Indystar Sports, Indianapolis Star, "Former Colts CB Antonio Cromartie: 'I'm getting released for taking a knee?'," 30 Oct. 2019 The likes of Harry Kane, Cristiano Ronaldo and 2016 qualifying champion Robert Lewandowski are being forced to kneel to a surprise one-two at the top of the charts this time round., "The Top Scorers in Euro 2020 Qualifying After October Fixtures," 16 Oct. 2019 State police say the officers found the son near the couple’s home and ordered him to kneel. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Man shocked by Michigan police stun gun falls on knife, dies," 15 Oct. 2019 Some of us have to use stools to kneel on while weeding. Roxanne Washington, cleveland, "St. Augustine garden club makes assisted living grounds bloom," 11 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for kneel

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for kneel

Last Updated

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Kneel.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 10 December 2019.

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More Definitions for kneel


How to pronounce kneel (audio)

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 How to pronounce kneel (audio) \
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

Comments on kneel

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


to state or do over again or repeatedly

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