[ oh-bey-suh ns, oh-bee- ]
/ oʊˈbeɪ səns, oʊˈbi- /


a movement of the body expressing deep respect or deferential courtesy, as before a superior; a bow, curtsy, or other similar gesture.
deference or homage: The nobles gave obeisance to the new king.

Origin of obeisance

1325–75; Middle English obeisaunce < Middle French obeissance, derivative of Old French obeissant, present participle of obeir to obey; see -ance
Related formso·bei·sant, adjectiveo·bei·sant·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for obeisant

British Dictionary definitions for obeisant


/ (əʊˈbeɪsəns, əʊˈbiː-) /


an attitude of deference or homage
a gesture expressing obeisance
Derived Formsobeisant, adjectiveobeisantly, adverb

Word Origin for obeisance

C14: from Old French obéissant, present participle of obéir to obey
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 obeisant



late 14c., "act or fact of obeying," from Old French obeissance "obedience, service, feudal duty" (13c.), from obeissant, present participle of obeir "obey," from Latin oboedire (see obey). Sense in English altered late 14c. to "bending or prostration of the body as a gesture of submission or respect" by confusion with abaisance. Related: Obeisant.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper