Post by Hinata Nakamura
"What's changed in the political relationship is Kim Jong Un's total
willingness to humiliate China, to slap it in the face, not to give
China even the ritual _obeisance_ his father did."
acknowledgment of another's superiority or importance : homage
When it first appeared in English in the late 14th century,
"obeisance" shared the same meaning as "obedience." This makes sense
given that "obeisance" can be traced back to the Anglo-French verb
obeir, which means "to obey" and is also an ancestor of our word
obey. The other senses of "obeisance" also date from the 14th
century, but they have stood the test of time whereas the obedience
sense is now obsolete.
Middle English obeisaunce obedience, obeisance, from Anglo-French
obeisance, from obeissant, present participle of obeir to obey
First Known Use: 14th century
It seems to me that in Modern English the word refers chiefly to a
gesture, usually a bow or curtsy. The use for a general acknowledgement
of superiority or authority has become almost a figurative use of the
Consider "curtsy", a word for a specific form of obeisance that is
descended from "courtesy". It is a gesture of courtesy, as obeisance is
a gesture of obedience.
1540s, "expression of respect," a variant of courtesy (q.v.). Specific
meaning "a bending the knee and lowering the body as a gesture of
respect" is from 1570s. Originally not exclusively feminine.
c. 1200, curteisie, "courtly ideals; chivalry, chivalrous conduct," also
"a courteous act," from Old French curteisie (Modern French courtoisie),
from curteis "courteous" (see courteous). From c. 1300 as "good will,
kindness," also "a reward, a gift;" mid-14c. as "refinement, gentlemanly
conduct." A specialized sense of curteisie is the source of English curtsy.