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Re: Kowtow

Posted by ESC on January 21, 2003

In Reply to: Cow Tao? posted by Carl Grey on January 21, 2003

: Has any one ever heard of the Phrase Cow-Tow or Cow-Tao as in don't cow-tao to the oppostion, meaning don't give in to the opposition?

From the discussion archives:

(KOW-tow)
(v.) To act obsequiously; to fawn or act with deference.

"Kowtow" is an adaptation of the picturesque Chinese word "koutou," which comes from "kou" meaning "to knock" and "tou," meaning "head."

Originally, "koutou" referred to the Chinese practice of touching one's forehead to the ground in an expression of deep respect and utter submission. "Kowtow" is also used as a noun in English to denote this act. These words found their way into English about 200 years
ago.