bow and scrape

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Alternative forms[edit]


  • IPA(key): /ˈbaʊəndskɹeɪp/


bow and scrape (third-person singular simple present bows and scrapes, present participle bowing and scraping, simple past and past participle bowed and scraped)

  1. To make a deep bow with the right leg drawn back (thus scraping the floor), left hand pressed across the abdomen, right arm held aside.
  2. (idiomatic, by extension) To behave in a servile, obsequious, or excessively polite manner.
    • 1988 March 27, Newgate Callendar, "Crime" (book review of The Vulgar Boatman by William G. Tapply), New York Times (retrieved 25 Nov 2012):
      But he is not one of those lawyers who bow and scrape before wealthy clients. He will not be pushed around.




bow and scrape (plural bows and scrapes)

  1. A deep formal bow with right leg drawn back touching the ground.
    • 1851, Nathaniel Hawthorne, chapter 11, in The House of Seven Gables:
      [H]e took off his Highland bonnet, and performed a bow and scrape.

See also[edit]