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

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

from The Century Dictionary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

[Middle English obeisaunce, from Old French obeissance, from obeissant, present participle of obeir, to obey; see obey.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").


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

    February 19, 2007