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genuflect

[jen-yoo-flekt]
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verb (used without object)
  1. to bend the knee or touch one knee to the floor in reverence or worship.
  2. to express a servile attitude.

Origin of genuflect

1620–30; < Medieval Latin genūflectere to bend the knee, equivalent to Latin genū-, stem of genu knee + flectere to bend
Related formsgen·u·flec·tor, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for genuflect

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • It hurt Sophia just to watch her struggle to genuflect before the cardinal.

  • If it is a Roman Catholic wedding they genuflect as they reach the chancel.

    The Complete Bachelor

    Walter Germain

  • It was well for the people to know when to kneel, when to bow the head, and when to genuflect.

    Robert Annys: Poor Priest

    Annie Nathan Meyer

  • Should we not, when we enter the church, genuflect, bend the knee in His honor?

  • "It's customary to genuflect when you enter the Viceroy's presence," said the standing one at last.

    Upstarts

    L. J. Stecher


British Dictionary definitions for genuflect

genuflect

verb (intr)
  1. to act in a servile or deferential manner
  2. RC Church to bend one or both knees as a sign of reverence, esp when passing before the Blessed Sacrament
Derived Formsgenuflection or esp British genuflexion, noungenuflector, noun

Word Origin

C17: from Medieval Latin genūflectere, from Latin genu knee + flectere to bend
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

Word Origin and History for genuflect

v.

1620s, back-formation from genuflection. Related: Genuflected; genuflecting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper