touch (one's) forelock

(redirected from touch their forelock)

touch (one's) forelock

To show excessive deference toward someone in a superior position. An allusion to the former act of pulling one's frontmost hair in lieu of having a hat to tip. I hate being in meetings with the CEO because then I have to witness all of the regional managers touching their forelocks like fawning sycophants.
See also: forelock, touch

touch (or tug) your forelock

raise a hand to your forehead in deference when meeting a person of higher social rank.
See also: forelock, touch

touch/tug your ˈforelock

(disapproving) show too much respect for a person of a higher rank or status: This is a democratic country and we don’t want people tugging their forelocks.In the past, people either took off their hats or pulled on their forelocks (= the hair above the forehead) to show respect.
See also: forelock, touch, tug
References in periodicals archive ?
If Britons were no longer keeping a stiff upper lip, they were also refusing to touch their forelock.
Even the sight of an ambulance will send some people to make secret hand signals, touch their forelock or cap, and a single magpie will create a terrible air of despondency as these creatures mate for life and are normally found in pairs, unless a calamity has befallen one of them.
There are some constituencies, of which Galloway is possibly one, where the peasants still touch their forelocks.