verb (used without object), knelt or kneeled, kneel·ing.

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 formskneel·ing·ly, adverbun·kneel·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for kneel

bow, stoop, genuflect, kowtow, curtsey

Examples from the Web for kneel

Contemporary Examples of kneel

Historical Examples of kneel

British Dictionary definitions for kneel


verb kneels, kneeling, knelt or kneeled

(intr) to rest, fall, or support oneself on one's knees


the act or position of kneeling
Derived Formskneeler, noun

Word Origin for kneel

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

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