crouch

[krouch]
verb (used without object)
1.
to stoop or bend low.
2.
to bend close to the ground, as an animal preparing to spring or shrinking with fear.
3.
to bow or stoop servilely; cringe.
verb (used with object)
4.
to bend low.
noun
5.
the act of crouching.

Origin:
1175–1225; Middle English crouchen, perhaps blend of couchen to lie down (see couch) and croken to crook1

croucher, noun
crouchingly, adverb
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
crouch (kraʊtʃ)
 
vb
1.  (intr) to bend low with the limbs pulled up close together, esp (of an animal) in readiness to pounce
2.  (intr) to cringe, as in humility or fear
3.  (tr) to bend (parts of the body), as in humility or fear
 
n
4.  the act of stooping or bending
 
[C14: perhaps from Old French crochir to become bent like a hook, from croche hook]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

crouch
c.1394, probably from O.Fr. crochir "become bent, crooked," from croche "hook."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Photographers crouched over it, snap-snapping with their cameras.
Stylish teenagers flock to the gleaming mega-mall, watched by shirtless beggars
  crouched in gutters.
Armed soldiers were crouched behind hedges close to the armored vehicles.
He started across his lawn crouched over and running.
Synonyms
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