obeisance

noun
obei·​sance | \ō-ˈbē-sᵊn(t)s, ə-, -ˈbā- \

Definition of obeisance 

1 : a movement of the body made in token of respect or submission : bow After making his obeisances he approached the altar.

2 : acknowledgment of another's superiority or importance : homage makes obeisance to her mentors The players paid obeisance to their coach.

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Other Words from obeisance

obeisant \ ō-​ˈbē-​sᵊnt , ə-​, -​ˈbā-​ \ adjective
obeisantly adverb

Did You Know?

When it first appeared in English in the late 14th century, "obeisance" shared the same meaning as "obedience." This makes sense given that "obeisance" can be traced back to the Anglo-French verb obeir, which means "to obey" and is also an ancestor of our word obey. The other senses of "obeisance" also date from the 14th century, but they have stood the test of time whereas the obedience sense is now obsolete.

Examples of obeisance in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The Fed’s policy obeisance to the Phillips curve flattened our economy a decade ago. WSJ, "The Phillips Curve Isn’t a Good Monetary Tool," 31 May 2018 In Oklahoma, Pruitt’s obeisance to the energy industry was sometimes startling. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "Scott Pruitt’s Dirty Politics," 3 Apr. 2017 In Oklahoma, Pruitt’s obeisance to the energy industry was sometimes startling. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "Scott Pruitt’s Dirty Politics," 3 Apr. 2017 In Oklahoma, Pruitt’s obeisance to the energy industry was sometimes startling. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "Scott Pruitt’s Dirty Politics," 3 Apr. 2017 Haley, who was born in South Carolina to Sikh immigrants from the northern Indian state of Punjab, rolled breads at the Sikh shrine, a religious way of paying obeisance to Sikh gurus. Fox News, "US envoy urges Pakistan to stop protecting terrorists," 28 June 2018 Haley, who was born in South Carolina to Sikh immigrants from the northern Indian state of Punjab, rolled breads at the Sikh shrine, a religious way of paying obeisance to Sikh gurus. Washington Post, "US envoy urges Pakistan to stop protecting terrorists," 28 June 2018 In Oklahoma, Pruitt’s obeisance to the energy industry was sometimes startling. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "Scott Pruitt’s Dirty Politics," 3 Apr. 2017 Claude Debussy died in March 1918, at age 55, and record companies are not letting the occasion pass without obeisance. David Mermelstein, WSJ, "‘Debussy: His First Performers’ Review: Rare Restoration," 19 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obeisance.' 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 obeisance

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for obeisance

Middle English obeisaunce obedience, obeisance, from Anglo-French obeisance, from obeissant, present participle of obeir to obey

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Time Traveler for obeisance

The first known use of obeisance was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for obeisance

obeisance

noun

English Language Learners Definition of obeisance

: a movement of your body (such as bowing) that shows respect for someone or something

: respect for someone or something

More from Merriam-Webster on obeisance

Nglish: Translation of obeisance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of obeisance for Arabic Speakers

Comments on obeisance

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