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[neel] /nil/
verb (used without object), knelt or kneeled, kneeling.
to go down or rest on the knees or a knee.
the action or position of kneeling.
Origin of kneel
before 1000; Middle English knelen, Old English cnēowlian (cognate with Low German knelen, Dutch knielen). See knee, -le
Related forms
kneelingly, adverb
unkneeling, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for kneel
  • Offenders would be ordered to kneel and take their beatings.
  • Each is told to kneel and then endures a mock execution.
  • They pointed guns at her, ordered her to kneel on the floor and cuffed her hands behind her back.
  • It was customary for visitors to kneel in respect to the great conqueror.
  • Later he let me kneel in his path, eye to camera, as he strutted into the spotlight.
  • She directs him towards the freight house, demands that he kneel down and put his face in the dirt.
  • No longer able to kneel, he has to pray sitting in a chair.
  • It's easy to denigrate those who don't kneel to the church of climate change.
  • He bade the messenger kneel by his bed, and whispered the message in his ear.
  • The police pushed them up against the wall, made them kneel facing the wall.
British Dictionary definitions for kneel


verb kneels, kneeling, knelt, kneeled
(intransitive) to rest, fall, or support oneself on one's knees
the act or position of kneeling
Derived Forms
kneeler, noun
Word Origin
Old English cnēowlian; see knee
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for kneel

Old English cneowlian, from cneow (see knee (n.)); cf. Middle Low German knelen, Middle Dutch cnielen, Dutch knielen Gothic knussjan. Past tense knelt is a modern formation (19c.) on analogy of feel/felt, etc. Related: Kneeling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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