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
First Known Use: 14th century
OBEISANCE Defined for English Language Learners
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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