7.1.5 Bow

Use this domain for words referring to bowing to someone--to face someone and lower your head or bend at the waist so that your upper body is lowered. The words in this domain should all be symbolic acts, that is, the culture assigns a meaning and significance to the physical action. Some cultures define it as a greeting, as an act of respect, or as an act of submission. For instance in ancient middle eastern culture bowing was an act of submission done in the presence of the king. Failure to bow was an act of rebellion punishable by death. In far eastern culture it is a greeting. In African culture it is an act of respect or done to welcome a visitor. Cultures define how a person is to bow, for instance how they are to hold their hands. A person may bow while standing, or may kneel, or even prostrate himself flat on his face. Whether both people bow is also significant. The depth of the bow can have significance. In Japan the person of lower social rank must bow deeper. In European culture a performer bows to acknowledge applause.

Louw Nida Codes: 
17E Prostrate as an Act of Reverence or Supplication x
  • What words refer to bowing?
    bow, bow down, bow to/before someone
  • What words describe how a person bows?
    sweeping bow, bow low, deep bow, slight bow, bow your head, his head fell, incline your head, nod, curtsy, genuflect, kowtow, prostrate, grovel
  • What words indicate the significance of the bow?
    obeisance, worship, bow in submission/reverence/greeting