Definition: To bend a single knee to the ground as a measure of respect or submission

This is a religious term, as there are several specific religious practices around it.

However, it’s more known as an idiom or shorthand to mean “defer.” An alternative definition:

To be servilely respectful or deferential; grovel.

I’ve interpreted it from context quite often to mean, “obviously demonstrate appropriate respect.”


Added on August 22, 2022

This situation is recalled in the book Too Big To Fail:

To break the tension, [Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson] went down on one knee before House speaker Nancy Pelosi.

[…] Pelosi tried to repress a smile at the site of the towering Treasury secretary genuflecting before her…

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