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- (intransitive, figuratively) To grovel, act in a very submissive manner.
- 2015, Oleg V. Khlevniuk, Stalin: New Biography of a Dictator, Yale University Press, →ISBN, page 265:
- The letter to Razin contained another thought that preoccupied Stalin in the first months after the war: the need to avoid “kowtowing to the West,” including showing “unwarranted respect” for the “military authorities of Germany.”
- (intransitive, historical) To kneel and bow low enough to touch one’s forehead to the ground.
- 2013, Wendy Swartz, Robert Ford Campany, Yang Lu, Jessey J. C. Choo, Early Medieval China: A Sourcebook, Columbia University Press, →ISBN, page 645:
- When the weather turned cold, the tears that he shed would become frozen like veins; the blood on his forehead from kowtowing would also freeze and would not drip.
- (intransitive) To bow very deeply.
- (Can we add an example for this sense?)
- (by extension) To bow to or show obeisance to.
kneel such that forehead touches ground
kowtow (plural kowtows)
- The act of kowtowing.
- 1990, Hugh D. R. Baker, Hong Kong Images: People and Animals, Hong Kong University Press, →ISBN, page 93:
- Three elders dressed in their long silk ceremonial gowns perform the kowtow before the altar in their clan ancestral hall.
kowtow m (plural kowtows)
- kowtow (bow low enough to touch one’s forehead to the ground)