A curtsy is an old-fashioned half-bow that shows extreme respect. A woman or girl is generally expected to curtsy when meeting the Queen of England.

There aren't many opportunities these days to curtsy, stepping forward with one foot, slightly bending both knees, and lowering your head. You're much more likely to read a reference to a curtsy in an old book or observe an actor curtsy on a stage than to see people curtsy in real life. The word curtsy sounds a little bit like courtesy, and that's exactly where it comes from.

Definitions of curtsy
  1. noun
    bending the knees; a gesture of respect made by women
    synonyms: curtsey
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    type of:
    an act showing respect (especially a bow or curtsy)
    gesture, motion
    the use of movements (especially of the hands) to communicate familiar or prearranged signals
  2. verb
    make a curtsy; usually done only by girls and women; as a sign of respect
    “She curtsied when she shook the Queen's hand”
    synonyms: bob
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    type of:
    greet, recognise, recognize
    express greetings upon meeting someone
  3. verb
    bend the knees in a gesture of respectful greeting
    synonyms: curtsey
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    type of:
    bend the head or the upper part of the body in a gesture of respect or greeting
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