Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To bend the knee or touch one knee to the floor or ground, as in worship.
  • intransitive verb To be servilely respectful or deferential; grovel.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To bend the knee, as in an act of worship or of respect; perform genuflection.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To bend the knee, as in worship.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive To bend the knee, as in servitude or worship
  • verb intransitive To behave in a servile manner; to grovel.

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

  • verb bend the knees and bow in church or before a religious superior or image
  • verb bend the knees and bow in a servile manner

Etymologies

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

[Late Latin genūflectere : Latin genū, knee; see genu- in Indo-European roots + Latin flectere, to bend.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From around 1620–1630 from Medieval Latin genūflectō ("I bend the knee") equivalent to the Latin genū ("knee") + flectō ("to bend").

Examples

Comments

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  • First you get down on your knees

    Fiddle with your rosaries

    Bow your head in great respect and--

    Genuflect, genuflect, genuflect...

    --Tom Lehrer, "The Vatican Rag"

    I can't help it, I start singing this song every time I see this word. Probably because I'm Catholic, I find it unbelievably amusing.

    January 15, 2008

  • Funny song... I have to agree with you.

    July 17, 2009

  • LION

    (sings)

    And the sparrow would take wing

    'F -- I...'f -- I...were King!

    Each rabbit would show respect to me. The

    chipmunks...

    ...genuflect to me.

    Though my tail would lash

    I would show compash

    For every underling.

    'F -- I...'f -- I --- were King

    Just King!....

    June 11, 2010

  • From p. 11 of Patrick Leigh Fermor's "A Time to Keep Silence":

    Here each pair of monks genuflected, inclined their heads one to another, and made their way to opposite stalls.

    January 21, 2014