Advanced and Proficiency Vocabulary for Exams(e.g.GRE, Banks, Civil Services, SAT / LSAT). For IELTS/TOEFL, and everyday spoken vocabulary, go to our Spoken Vocabulary Database.
If you ‘kowtow’ then you are overly deferential to a figure in authority. This informal word describes an eagerness to obey unquestioningly and please, even at the expense of your own interests, well-being, or principles. While there may be occasions when kowtowing can be beneficial, it is mostly used in a negative context and to express disapproval.
I admit that I did kowtow to the local council. While that was demeaning, it led to me being granted the planning permission I was seeking.
Why are you always kowtowing to your boss? If you don’t stand up for yourself, he will keep walking all over you!
That company only secured a lucrative contract in that country because they kowtowed to the demands of the oppressive regime running it.