- The definition of kowtow is to be submissive or subservient to someone, or to kneel and touch the ground with your forehead as an act of worship.
- A woman who gives into all of her husband's needs and demands and who is submissive to him is an example of someone who kowtows to her husband.
- When a Chinese man touches his forehead to the ground while worshiping, this is an example of kowtow.
Origin: Chin k'o-t'ou, literally , bump head
- to perform a kowtow
- to show servile respect (to)
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
intransitive verb kow·towed, kow·tow·ing, kow·tows
- To kneel and touch the forehead to the ground in expression of deep respect, worship, or submission, as formerly done in China.
- To show servile deference. See Synonyms at fawn1.
- The act of kneeling and touching the forehead to the ground.
- An obsequious act.
Origin: From Chinese (Mandarin) kòu tóu, a kowtow : kòu, to knock + tóu, head.