\ 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 The video ended with two officers kneeling over two protesters on the ground. Fox News, "Hong Kong police apparently shoot protester in video posted to Facebook," 11 Nov. 2019 This is very confusing to the haters who say Kaepernick’s kneel-down protests were all about calling attention to himself. Scott Ostler,, "Colin Kaepernick under the radar, but flying high with a boost from NFL," 4 Nov. 2019 Brandon Allen, the quarterback who had never started, filling in for a team appearing to go nowhere, knelt out the clock on the Browns on Sunday night. Dan Labbe, cleveland, "Browns’ season slipping away with another uninspired showing in Denver," 4 Nov. 2019 Last week, that meant kneeling down for a game-ending field-goal attempt, a 41-yarder that Eddy Pineiro should have made. Brad Biggs,, "Column: Matt Nagy has lost his aggressiveness, adding another layer to the Bears’ mess," 3 Nov. 2019 Another, by Sabine Herrmann, depicts a woman kneeling and bowing her head as if to shake out her hair. The Economist, "Thirty years after the Wall fell, East German art is causing a stir," 31 Oct. 2019 The kneeling uncle looked around with his palms up to the sky. Tiphanie Yanique, The New Yorker, "God’s Caravan," 28 Oct. 2019 On Monday night, Stidham, a fourth-round choice in the 2019 NFL Draft, was limited to handing off to Harris three times and kneeling down twice to run out the final 1:02 of the game. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Damien Harris, Jarrett Stidham play in Patriots’ blowout of Jets," 22 Oct. 2019 One by one, players peeled off the pile but when Mahomes didn't get up , the stadium grew quiet, Broncos players knelt and some Chiefs stormed away in aguish as their quarterback ripped off his helmet and covered his face. Arnie Stapleton,, "Patrick Mahomes hurts knee in Chiefs’ win over Broncos," 18 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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Statistics for kneel

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for kneel

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

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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

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something of little or no value

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