Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To go down or rest on one or both knees.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To stoop down and rest on the knee or knees.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To bend the knee; to fall or rest on the knees; -- sometimes with down.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To go down on the knees or a knee; bend the legs at the knees and rest for a time upon them, or upon one of them, as in supplication or homage.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. supporting yourself on your knees
  • v. rest one's weight on one's knees

Etymologies

Middle English knelen, from Old English cnēowlian; see genu-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English knelen, knewlen, from Old English cnēowlian ("to kneel"), equivalent to knee +‎ -le. Cognate with Dutch knielen ("to kneel"), Low German knelen ("to kneel"), German dialectal knielen, kneulen, knülen ("to kneel"), Danish knæle ("to kneel"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Davies fell victim to his old tropes: sexualising the doctor by having him kiss yet another female companion, fetishising him by having Lee Evans as an eccentric boffin kneel at his feet and declare he loved him, and granting him another soliloquy about his cosmic solitariness.

    Doctor Who Smattering of Spoilers

  • The inability to kneel is seen as the very essence of the diabolical.

    04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004

  • Sure, we've gotten used to saying "African American," but it has become a kind of frozen expression, like, indeed ice cream (we don't think about it being "cream of ice" when saying "eyescream") or even knee-l (the word kneel has knee in i--- did you ever think about it)?

    NPR Topics: News

  • Sure, we've gotten used to saying "African American," but it has become a kind of frozen expression, like, indeed ice cream (we don't think about it being "cream of ice" when saying "eyescream") or even knee-l (the word kneel has knee in it - did you ever think about it)?

    The New Republic - All Feed

  • It was Thomas, tousle-haired and serious, who went without a word to kneel down by Will.

    Clockwork Angel

  • Nature intended us to kneel, which is preferable to standing, statue-like, exacting obeisance from others.

    Macaria; or, Altars of Sacrifice

  • In the sport known as the kneel jump, the athlete crouches in a hunting position on frozen water and aims to jump as far a span as possible with good balance.

    Brandon Sun Online - Top Stories

  • Phillips took the blame, but Garrett, obviously, should have known to call a kneel down.

    NBC Dallas-Fort Worth - Top Stories

  • Yeah, I remember this book being a slog, but no comments on the "kneel" scene at the end of the novel?

    Robert Jordan, Wheel of Time 6: Lord of Chaos (1994)

  • Do the drivers of those same buses, upon seeing someone using a cane, think to use the 'kneel' function of their bus to let said passenger with cane on?

    Oxygen concentrator, I try to go begging (again!), and Seattle!

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