a simple past tense and past participle of kneel.



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 knelt

bow, stoop, genuflect, kowtow, curtsey

Examples from the Web for knelt

Contemporary Examples of knelt

Historical Examples of knelt

  • Into the little parlor filed the nurses, and knelt, folding their tired hands.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • She then returned to the mouth of the cave, and knelt down at Richard Digby's feet.

    The Man of Adamant

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Miss Whitmore knelt and examined the cattle thief curiously.

  • Linda rushed to the boulder and knelt again, but she could get no response to her questions.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • For some minutes he knelt motionless, as if in prayer, though no sound escaped him.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

British Dictionary definitions for knelt



a past tense and past participle of 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 knelt



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