obeisance

play
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.

obeisant

play \ō-ˈbē-sᵊnt, ə-, -ˈbā-\ adjective

obeisantly

adverb

obeisance was our Word of the Day on 08/20/2015. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of obeisance from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of obeisance

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



OBEISANCE Defined for English Language Learners

obeisance

play
noun

Definition of obeisance for English Language Learners

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

  • : respect for someone or something



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