Share this entry
genuflect Line breaks: genu|flect
Pronunciation: /ˈdʒɛnjʊflɛkt/

Definition of genuflect in English:


[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'.

Definition of genuflect in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources