obei·​sance | \ ō-ˈbē-sᵊn(t)s How to pronounce obeisance (audio) , ə-, -ˈbā- How to pronounce obeisance (audio) \

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.

Other Words from obeisance

obeisant \ ō-​ˈbē-​sᵊnt How to pronounce obeisance (audio) , ə-​ , -​ˈbā-​ \ adjective
obeisantly adverb

Did you know?

When it first appeared in English in the 14th century, obeisance shared the same meaning as obedience. This makes sense given that obeisance can be traced back to the Anglo-French obeir, a verb meaning "to obey" that is also an ancestor of English's 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 Publicly, McCarthy and the Republican Party have continued to show widespread obeisance to Trump, fearful of drawing his wrath or having his supporters turn on them. Michael Scherer And Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, 14 May 2022 China wants nothing less than to restore itself as the Middle Kingdom, owed the respect and obeisance of the rest of the world. Rich Lowry, National Review, 25 Feb. 2022 In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche tracks two types of youth: a youth of saying yes to everything around you, of obeisance and placation, and a youth of saying no to everything, of refusal and rebellion. Lynn Steger Strong, The New Republic, 16 Mar. 2022 Fox News is paying the price for its obeisance to former president Donald Trump. Washington Post, 8 Mar. 2022 Even those bigwigs paid obeisance to someone and, eventually, by the transitive property of Saudi deference, to the king himself. Graeme Wood, The Atlantic, 3 Mar. 2022 The Seventies looker closely follows the trim direction of its modern commemorative sibling and its obeisance to the atelier’s premiere watch. Viju Mathew, Robb Report, 18 Jan. 2022 McCarthy's quest to be speaker if Republicans win the House in 2022 is already in question as Trump's allies warn his obeisance to the former President is insufficiently fervent, despite his extensive efforts to ensure impunity for the coup attempt. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 15 Dec. 2021 Ball’s views and Feuer’s obeisance sound like parody. Kenin M. Spivak, National Review, 16 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of obeisance

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for obeisance

Middle English obeissance, obeysaunce "obedience, submission, gesture indicating submission," borrowed from Anglo-French obeissaunce, from obeisant "willing to obey" (from present participle of obeir "to submit to the authority of, obey") + -aunce -ance — more at obey

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

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Last Updated

26 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Obeisance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obeisance. Accessed 4 Jul. 2022.

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