English

Definition of kowtow verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

kowtow

 verb
verb
BrE BrE//ˌkaʊˈtaʊ//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˌkaʊˈtaʊ//
 
Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they kowtow
BrE BrE//ˌkaʊˈtaʊ//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˌkaʊˈtaʊ//
 
he / she / it kowtows
BrE BrE//ˌkaʊˈtaʊz//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˌkaʊˈtaʊz//
 
past simple kowtowed
BrE BrE//ˌkaʊˈtaʊd//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˌkaʊˈtaʊd//
 
past participle kowtowed
BrE BrE//ˌkaʊˈtaʊd//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˌkaʊˈtaʊd//
 
-ing form kowtowing
BrE BrE//ˌkaʊˈtaʊɪŋ//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˌkaʊˈtaʊɪŋ//
 
 
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[intransitive] kowtow (to somebody/something) (informal, disapproving) to show somebody in authority too much respect and be too willing to obey them Her pride wouldn’t allow her to kowtow to anyone. Word Origin early 19th cent.: from Chinese kētóu, from ‘knock’ + tóu ‘head’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: kowtow