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Definition of "kowtow" []

  • To kneel and touch the forehead to the ground in expression of deep respect, worship, or submission, as formerly done in China. (verb-intransitive)
  • To show servile deference. See Synonyms at fawn1. (verb-intransitive)
  • The act of kneeling and touching the forehead to the ground. (noun)
  • An obsequious act. (noun)
  • To touch the forehead to the ground as a sign of deference: a former Chinese custom (verb)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • To be servile or obsequious (towards) (verb)
  • The act of kowtowing (noun)

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Use "kowtow" in a sentence
  • "They were already prepared to release those two idiots as soon as they could get even a symbolic kowtow from the imperialists."
  • "As most Americans see it, their government is not asking other nations to "kowtow" - but rather to enter into a security partnership to avert terror attacks."
  • "Yueyue's parents were photographed meeting the woman, bowing down in a ritual 'kowtow' - a public expression of gratitude that she had stopped to help their daughter when so many others had walked on by."