To genuflect is to lean down on one or both knees. It's usually a sign of worship.
Figuratively, to genuflect to people or things is to be so respectful to them that it's as if you're kneeling down to them.
JEN you flect
Part of speech:
(Like “sleep,” “skydive,” and “succeed,” all intransitive verbs show complete action on their own and do not do action to an object. You sleep, you skydive, you succeed, and that’s it. You don’t “sleep a bed,” “skydive a plane,” or “succeed a plan”.
Likewise, someone genuflects.)
Genuflected, genuflecting, genuflection/genuflexion, genuflector (the person who genuflects,) & genuflectory.
How to use it:
Talk about someone genuflecting at the altar of something or genuflecting before someone or something: "Every evening, they genuflect at the altar of Netflix." "She genuflected before the committee, basing her entire presentation on their pet projects."
You can also genuflect to someone or something: "He refused to genuflect to the staff's culture and, although he wasn't outright fired, he was made to feel so unwelcome that he quit."
As you can tell from those examples, "genuflect" often describes a quick and/or fake word or gesture of respect toward someone or something. So if you need a word for ongoing, sincere servile worship, pick kowtow instead, or if you need to describe sincere but less intense worship, pick venerate.
These days, it seems every teacher has to genuflect to the flipped classroom. It's a trendy new thing, of course, but if you look closely at it, "the flipped classroom" is a new term for an enduring concept.
Some undergraduate courses teach students to genuflect to diversity and kowtow to politically correct terms... without providing any opportunity to critically assess why (or if) it's all necessary.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "genuflect" means when you can explain it without saying "kneel down" or "pander to."
Think of something popular that you're actually not interested in, and fill in the blanks: "It seems everyone is genuflecting to (a particular popular thing), but I'd rather _____."
Example: "It seems everyone in the online content creation business is genuflecting to the power of a strategic social media presence, but I'd rather just focus on writing my little vocab emails."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're sampling questions from Orijinz, an awesome series of games about the origins of words, phrases, and quotes. Click here if you want to check them out. They're compact--perfect for stockings. Just saying. :) Try a question here each day this month, and see the right answer the next day. Have fun!
"Guess the phrase!
Origin: Since a blank letter is obvious, cryptographers frequently used a code with a secret message hidden in alternate lines. Invisible ink was often used. For instance, lemon juice is normally transparent on paper, but when heated it becomes visible.
Definition: To discern what is implied, but not stated."
"The phrase is: Read between the lines."
"Guess the fictional character [who spoke the following quotes]!
'France is a problem; I have to avoid the restaurants there.'
'Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection—the lovers, the dreamers, and me.'
'Don’t count your tadpoles until they’ve hatched.'
'It’s not that easy being green.'
'I have to stand on a box; they didn’t have a toadstool.'”
A Point Well Made:
Seth Godin: “It's hard to be a doctor or an engineer or key grip if you don't know what the words mean, because learning the words is the same thing as learning the concepts.”
1. The opposite of GENUFLECT is
2. We need a way to _____ at the event without making a display of empty genuflection.
A. recognize and thank the sponsors
B. keep aisles clear and cell phones silent
C. respond with kind firmness to off-topic questions
Answers are below.
To be a sponsor and send your own message to readers of this list, please contact Liesl at Liesl@HiloTutor.com.
Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
You can recall the meaning of today's word by singing a rhyming line from Disney's Aladdin movie: "Genuflect, show some respect, down on one knee."
I recently shared a similar way to remember the pronunciation and meaning of another word--a fairly close synonym of today's. Could you recall it? Here's the line from Elton John's song "Sweat it Out:" "Don't k_____, don't bow down."
(And could you explain why either that word or "genuflect" has the more intense meaning?)
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