Friday, July 06, 2007


KOWTOW: 1: to show obsequious deference: fawn 2: to kneel and touch the forehead to the ground in token of homage, worship, or deep respect

"Kowtow" originated as a noun referring to the act of kneeling and touching one's head to the ground as a salute or sign or worship. In traditional China, this ritual was performed by commoners making requests to the local magistrate , by the emperor to the shrine of Confucius, and by foreign representatives appearing before the emperor to establish trade relations. The word "kowtow" derives from the Chinese koutou, formed by combining the verb kou ("to knock") with the noun tou ("head"). The noun had arrived in English by 1804, and the earliest evidence for the verb dates from 1826.

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