kowtow

Exam frequency

GRE

high

Banks

high

Civil Services

high

Meaning(s)

show too much respect to somebody

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kowtow - yield

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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.

ExamsSpokenOther
Synonyms
Antonyms quarrel

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  1. 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.

  2. Why are you always kowtowing to your boss? If you don’t stand up for yourself, he will keep walking all over you!

  3. That company only secured a lucrative contract in that country because they kowtowed to the demands of the oppressive regime running it.

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