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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for kneel
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I kneel not, repenting of what I have vowed in such a case as that I have supposed.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • Then, as he was about to kneel down, he saw her before him at his feet.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • Peter, I'll just kneel and kiss your hands if you can fix this for me.

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
  • "Then kneel on the ground and pull them up with your hands," said the farmer.

  • Let me not kneel in vain, Madam: let me not be thus despised.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
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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