Definition of obeisance
- After making his obeisances he approached the altar.
- makes obeisance to her mentors
- The players paid obeisance to their coach.
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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.
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.
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
: a movement of your body (such as bowing) that shows respect for someone or something
: respect for someone or something
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