Definitions

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

  • n. A gesture or movement of the body, such as a curtsy, that expresses deference or homage.
  • n. An attitude of deference or homage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Demonstration of an obedient attitude, especially by bowing deeply.
  • n. An obedient attitude.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Obedience.
  • n. Deference or homage, or an expression of deference or respect; a bow; a curtsy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Authority; subjection; power or right to demand obedience.
  • n. Obedience.
  • n. Deferential deportment.
  • n. A bow or courtesy; an act of reverence, dutifulness, or deference.

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

  • n. the act of obeying; dutiful or submissive behavior with respect to another person
  • n. bending the head or body or knee as a sign of reverence or submission or shame or greeting

Etymologies

Middle English obeisaunce, from Old French obeissance, from obeissant, present participle of obeir, to obey; see obey.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English obeisaunce ("obedience, obeisance"), from Old French obeïssance, derived from obeïssant ("obedient"), participle of obeïr ("to obey"), from Latin oboedire, obedire; ob- ("to, for") + audire ("to hear"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • Well, you learn something new everyday, right? Always thought this was pronounced oh-bee-YAY-sense!

    February 19, 2007