\ 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

Since Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem nearly three years ago, children and adults from every walk of life joined in to demand change., "Black Firefighter Comes Under Fire After Kneeling During The Anthem At A Football Game," 7 June 2018 But this year the on-going controversy over whether NFL players can kneel during the National Anthem has engulfed the league in a political firestorm. Alix Langone, Time, "White House Says Philadelphia Eagles ‘Unable’ to Attend Super Bowl Celebration Because They ‘Disagree’ With Trump on the National Anthem," 5 June 2018 Several top Trump’s administration officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, have publicly called for the NFL owners to create a new rule banning players from kneeling during the anthem. Fortune, "Why Trump Just Disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles From Their White House Super Bowl Party," 5 June 2018 Privacy - Terms Never mind that no Eagles players kneeled during the anthem last season. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Mellinger Minutes: Trump kicks the NFL, Chiefs fans are cocky (?) and Mahomes' endorsements," 5 June 2018 Teams whose players choose to sit or kneel during the anthem will be subject to fines. Joseph Person, charlotteobserver, "Panthers WR on Twitter: President Trump's Eagles visit cancellation a 'cowardly act'," 4 June 2018 Unfortunately, though, fans won’t get to see black-ish weigh in on the national debate over athletes kneeling during the national anthem. Shannon Carlin,, "Why The Black-ish Episode About Athletes Taking A Knee Won't Air," 10 Mar. 2018 The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback gained fame and stirred controversy for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality. Rachel Bachman, WSJ, "USA Gymnastics Interim CEO Mary Bono Criticized Nike in Tweet," 14 Oct. 2018 Despite Trump's many attempts to criticize the practice of kneeling during the National Anthem, the act has been praised and adopted by people across the country who want to speak out against racial inequality in the US. Mekita Rivas, Teen Vogue, "Donald Trump's Campaign Is Selling “Stand Up For America” Football Jerseys," 10 Oct. 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

21 Mar 2019

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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 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

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a shady place in a garden or forest

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