1 : a movement of the body made in token of respect or submission : bow
2 : acknowledgment of another's superiority or importance : homage
Did You Know?
When it first appeared in English in the 14th century, obeisance shared the same meaning as obedience. This makes sense given that obeisance can be traced back to the Anglo-French obeir, a verb meaning "to obey" that is also an ancestor of English's 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.