phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

CowTow

Posted by Frankie on September 01, 2000

In Reply to: CowTow posted by LawyerChk on September 01, 2000

: Is this one word or two? and what does is its origin?

(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.