An obeisance is an act, usually physical, showing dutiful obedience. A supplicant might perform obeisance, touching his face to the ground, before humbly asking for help.

Obeisance is often used in historical or religious contexts and often refers to bowing or kneeling. Figuratively, it means an act of respect though sometimes with the negative connotation of slavishly doing as expected. Your boyfriend might bring you and your mother flowers in obeisance to the idea that the parents should be courted as much as the child. Consumers who want this software must show obeisance to the Internet — it can't be bought in a store or anywhere else.

Definitions of obeisance

n bending the head or body or knee as a sign of reverence or submission or shame or greeting

bow, bowing
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
genuflection, genuflexion
the act of bending the knees in worship or reverence
kotow, kowtow
a former Chinese custom of touching the ground with the forehead as a sign of respect or submission
scrape, scraping
a deep bow with the foot drawn backwards (indicating excessive humility)
a deep bow; a Muslim form of salutation
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

n the act of obeying; dutiful or submissive behavior with respect to another person

disobedience, noncompliance
the failure to obey
the act of obeying meanly (especially obeying in a humble manner or for unworthy reasons)
Type of:
compliance, submission
the act of submitting; usually surrendering power to another

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.