\ 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

Asked him about the decision to kneel down afterward. Michael Casagrande |, al, "A few extra observations, context from Alabama win at South Carolina," 15 Sep. 2019 Police pulled the car over, approached with guns drawn, handcuffed the driver and his passenger, and forced them to kneel on the pavement at gunpoint, believing them to be dangerous. Los Angeles Times, "Neighbors are using these smart cameras to track strangers’ cars — and yours," 13 Sep. 2019 The Christlike figure here is Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback who used to kneel during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice and hasn’t played since 2016. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 22 Aug. 2019 Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick revealed in a new interview that the 2015 shooting death of Mario Woods in San Francisco pushed him to protest police brutality and injustice, and led to his decision to kneel during the national anthem. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "Colin Kaepernick talks about the police shooting that led him to protest during national anthem," 20 Aug. 2019 While Kaepernick is out of the NFL, Stills continues to kneel during the anthem to protest social injustice. Steven Wine,, "Dolphins’ Kenny Stills objects to comments by Jay-Z about NFL deal: ‘It’s not something that I respect’," 19 Aug. 2019 Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, is a lifelong republican who declined to kneel before the Queen when he was appointed to her Privy Council. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "The Royal Family Gets Drawn Deeper Into the Brexit Maelstrom," 14 Aug. 2019 Two players close to Kaepernick, Carolina’s Eric Reid and Miami’s Kenny Stills, continue to kneel. Time, "After 3 Year Hiatus, Colin Kaepernick Is as Ready as Ever to Get Back on the Field," 9 Aug. 2019 Stills also was in the locker room before the Dolphins’ 2016 opener in Seattle when teammate Michael Thomas went to Ross and told of some players’ plans to kneel during the national anthem. Dave Hyde,, "Hyde: What billionaire would Kenny Stills want closer to Trump than Steve Ross? | Commentary," 8 Aug. 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

19 Sep 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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to spread over or through

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