What does kneel mean?

Definitions for kneel

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word kneel.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. kneel, kneelingverb

    supporting yourself on your knees

  2. kneelverb

    rest one's weight on one's knees

    "In church you have to kneel during parts of the service"


  1. kneelverb

    To stoop down and rest on the knee or knees.

  2. Etymology: From knelen, knewlen, from cneowlian, equivalent to. Cognate with knielen, knelen, dialectal knielen, kneulen, knülen, knæle.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To Kneelv. n.

    To perform the act of genuflection; to bend the knee.

    Etymology: from knee.

    When thou do’st ask me blessing, I’ll kneel down,
    And ask of thee forgiveness. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    Ere I was risen from the place that shew’d
    My duty kneeling, came a reeking post,
    Stew’d in his haste, half breathing, panting forth
    From Goneril, his mistress, salutation. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    A certain man kneeling down to him, said, Lord, have mercy upon my son; for he is lunatick. Mat. xvii.

    As soon as you are dressed, kneel and say the Lord’s prayer. Jeremy Taylor, Guide to Devotion.


  1. kneel

    Kneeling is a basic human position where one or both knees touch the ground. Kneeling is defined as “to position the body so that one or both knees rest on the floor,” according to Merriam-Webster. Kneeling when only composed of one knee, and not both, is called genuflection. Kneeling is a primate behavior used to convey deference by making the figure kneeling look smaller than the other. Primates themselves establish pecking orders that are important to the survival and behavior of a group. Chimpanzees, for example, have a complex social group that involves a dominant male and corresponding female with the other submissive males and juvenile chimps. Males who threaten the hierarchy are often severely injured or killed; thus the use of submissive behavior is necessary in order to ensure survival in some instances.


  1. kneel

    Kneel refers to the action of going down or resting on one's knees, often as a sign of respect, submission, or worship. It can also be used to get closer to the ground when performing certain tasks. It is a position in which the body is supported by the knees.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Kneelverb

    to bend the knee; to fall or rest on the knees; -- sometimes with down

  2. Etymology: [OE. knelen, cneolien; akin to D. knielen, Dan. knle. See Knee.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Kneel

    nēl, v.i. to bend the knee: to rest or fall on the knee:—pa.t. and pa.p. kneeled, knelt.—n. Kneel′er, one who kneels. [Knee.]

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'kneel' in Verbs Frequency: #1077

How to pronounce kneel?

How to say kneel in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of kneel in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of kneel in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of kneel in a Sentence

  1. Sipho P Nkosi:

    When we kneel before him, he lifts us up with his great hands.

  2. The Rev. Joseph Lowery:

    We had been through sit-ins and kneel-ins where we had been beat up and locked up and cussed out and locked out, it was a milestone, a watershed. It helped America take off the cloak of official segregation.

  3. The Americans:

    Hanthar Nyein was badly treated because Hanthar Nyein was Burmese national. Hanthar Nyein had to kneel down on the ground for like two days. Hanthar Nyein skin was burnt with a cigarette.

  4. Chris Taylor:

    House Democrats defied history on a record of creating jobs, keeping families safe, investing in America, defending women’s freedom and the integrity of our democracy, voters rejected MAGA extremism and now House Republicans are in a state of disarray. With a razor-thin majority, Kevin McCarthy is being forced to kneel to extremism in a GOP conference that wants to ban abortion, challenge elections, hawk conspiracy theories that make us all less safe and sow even more hate and division in America.

  5. Proverb:

    Don't kneel in front of a saint who doesn't perspire.

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Translations for kneel

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"kneel." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 28 Feb. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/kneel>.

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    quickly aroused to anger
    • A. naiant
    • B. irascible
    • C. motile
    • D. commensal

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