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
  1. noun
    bending the head or body or knee as a sign of reverence or submission or shame or greeting
    synonyms: bow, bowing
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    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
  2. noun
    the act of obeying; dutiful or submissive behavior with respect to another person
    synonyms: obedience
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    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
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