Definition of genuflect in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdʒɛnjʊflɛkt/


[no object]
1Lower one’s body briefly by bending one knee to the ground, typically in worship or as a sign of respect.
Example sentences
  • This is the reason for head-coverings, face-veilings, bowing, kneeling, genuflecting, and other signs of spiritual modesty.
  • He quickly walked to it and before he entered into the pew, he genuflected and did the sign of the cross, the way his father had taught him so long ago.
  • After making the sign of the cross and genuflecting before the tabernacle, she knelt down and put her hands together in prayer.
1.1Show deference or servility: politicians had to genuflect to the far left to advance their careers
More example sentences
  • The politicians in them wanted to genuflect to democracy, open debate and all the new citizen journalists who seem to wield so much influence these days.
  • If we continue to genuflect to decentralization as a fundamental criterion for running elections, we make it much harder for such reform efforts to achieve true democracy.
  • All too often, gutless reviewers genuflect to ‘major writers’, composing fawning reviews that barely hint at how bad the books are.



Pronunciation: /dʒɛnjʊˈflɛkʃ(ə)n/
(also genuflexion) noun
Example sentences
  • A ban, as Norman says, is wrong, but so is genuflexion to a minority's rights.
  • There were occasional genuflections to the original, for the edification of purist snobs.
  • That faith-filled genuflection communicated very powerfully the sense of awe and mystery which ought to be associated with the Eucharist.


Example sentences
  • On their debut release under the Stompy Jones headline these genuflectors of jumping Jazz swing through seventeen tunes, six of which are originals.
  • More than 1,000 pinners are expected to descend upon Mad River's densely forested slopes for this genuflectors gala.
  • I wonder at people who so casually regard and partake of the Eucharist, of those jaunty genuflectors who never make it even halfway to the floor but give a kind of bob.


Mid 17th century (in the sense 'bend (the knee')): from ecclesiastical Latin genuflectere, from Latin genu 'knee' + flectere 'to bend'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: genu|flect

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