prostration

If you throw yourself at your mom's feet and beg forgiveness for breaking curfew, that's prostration. Many religious rituals include various forms of prostration, or lying face-downward in a submissive way.

When a Catholic kneels to pray in church, or a Muslim bows his head to touch the ground during prayers, it's an act of prostration, or making yourself humble before a god or religious figure. In Hinduism, touching the feet of a guru (or teacher) is a sign of respect, and also a form of prostration. The source of this noun is the adjective prostrate, literally "lying face-down," from the Latin prosternere, "throw down."

Definitions of prostration
  1. noun
    the act of assuming a prostrate position
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    type of:
    motility, motion, move, movement
    a change of position that does not entail a change of location
  2. noun
    abject submission; the emotional equivalent of prostrating your body
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    type of:
    compliance, submission
    the act of submitting; usually surrendering power to another
  3. noun
    an abrupt failure of function or complete physical exhaustion
    “the commander's prostration demoralized his men”
    synonyms: collapse
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    types:
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    breakdown, crack-up
    a mental or physical breakdown
    shock
    (pathology) bodily collapse or near collapse caused by inadequate oxygen delivery to the cells; characterized by reduced cardiac output and rapid heartbeat and circulatory insufficiency and pallor
    heat hyperpyrexia, heatstroke
    collapse caused by exposure to excessive heat
    algidity
    prostration characterized by cold and clammy skin and low blood pressure
    nervous breakdown
    a severe or incapacitating emotional disorder
    cardiogenic shock
    shock caused by cardiac arrest
    hypovolemic shock
    shock caused by severe blood or fluid loss
    obstructive shock
    shock caused by obstruction of blood flow
    distributive shock
    shock caused by poor distribution of the blood flow
    insulin reaction, insulin shock
    hypoglycemia produced by excessive insulin in the system causing coma
    heat exhaustion, heat prostration
    a condition marked by dizziness and nausea and weakness caused by depletion of body fluids and electrolytes
    insolation, siriasis, sunstroke, thermic fever
    sudden prostration due to exposure to the sun or excessive heat
    type of:
    illness, malady, sickness, unwellness
    impairment of normal physiological function affecting part or all of an organism
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