Word of the Day

Friday, June 11, 2010

kowtow

\KOU-TOU\ , verb;
1.
To act in an obsequious manner; show servile deference.
2.
To touch the forehead to the ground while kneeling, as an act of worship, reverence, apology, etc., especially in former Chinese custom.
noun:
1.
The act of kowtowing.
Quotes:
Mei-hua was sitting nearby, and though she could not understand the English words she understood what was happening. She murmured that her daughter should kowtow.
-- Beverly Swerling, City of God
It's a new one for Morrison to meet a girl who doesn't kowtow. He's a very great personage in his line, and he can't help knowing it.
-- Dorothy Canfield, The Bent Twig
Origin:
Kowtow comes from the Chinese practice of touching the ground with your forehead to show respect, called k'o t'ou. It literally means "to knock the head."
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