Also found in: Dictionary.
1. Literally, to go down on one or both of one's knees in front of someone or something, a gesture of obedience, subservience, loyalty, or respect. The knight knelt down in the presence of the king. Several people were kneeling down in prayer when I entered the church.
2. To be in a position of weakness, subservience, or vulnerability. If they think that their economic sanctions can make our country kneel down, then they've got another think coming!
kneel down before (someone or something)
To show devotion, loyalty, or subservience to someone or something. A reference to the act of physically kneeling in front of someone or something, a sign of such loyalty and subservience. The monarch wants the entire continent to kneel before him. This protest is to show the government that we will never kneel before it. Everyone complains about their loss of privacy while simultaneously kneeling before the altar of technology and social media.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
kneel down (before someone or something)
to show respect by getting down on one's knees in the presence of someone or something. We were told to kneel down in front of the altar. Kneel down when the queen enters!
to get down on one's knees. Please kneel down and fold your hands. You should at least kneel down and be quiet.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.