\ ˈnēl How to pronounce kneel (audio) \
knelt\ ˈnelt How to pronounce kneel (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 Mayfield ended up reversing course on plans to kneel, deciding instead to stand with his teammates. Hayden Grove, cleveland, "Cleveland Browns resurgence has fans buzzing: 20 most popular Browns Facebook posts of 2020," 27 Dec. 2020 Warriors guard Steph Curry will likely kneel for the national anthem next season. Connor Letourneau,, "Steph Curry says he believes he’ll kneel during national anthem next season," 31 Aug. 2020 Some players kneel during the anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance to protest racial injustice in America. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "National anthem vs. normalcy: Trump’s mixed messaging on return to sports," 12 Aug. 2020 Many athletes around the globe now kneel during or prior to the national anthem, especially in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd. Jordan Freiman, CBS News, "Navy investigating videos of demonstration where dogs attacked man wearing Colin Kaepernick jersey," 3 Aug. 2020 Silver’s wide-ranging interview touched on a number of subjects, including when the NBA should receive the vaccine, if players will continue to kneel for the national anthem and how fans will be allowed to return to arenas. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, "Adam Silver says NBA is prepared to change plans if coronavirus protocols fail," 21 Dec. 2020 Even Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel had to kneel at Ohio State’s altar. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Big Ten winners and losers: Despite not playing Michigan football, Ohio State still won," 14 Dec. 2020 All Premier League clubs have continued to kneel before games this season, while some teams in the English Football League, the second, third and fourth tiers of English football, stopped at the start of this season. George Ramsay, CNN, "Fans at Millwall boo players taking a knee on return to stadium," 5 Dec. 2020 Trump has been a fierce opponent of the trend to kneel for the national anthem as a form of protest against social justice since former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick made the move in 2016. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "Trump slams two NFL stars after they kneel for national anthem on Thanksgiving: 'No thanks!'," 27 Nov. 2020

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

26 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Kneel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on kneel

Nglish: Translation of kneel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of kneel for Arabic Speakers

Comments on kneel

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