bow down, kneel, bend down, lean down

stephenlearner

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

Does bow down mean the same as KNEEL?

Does bend down mean more bending than lean down, but less bending than bow down?
 
  • Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    I would say "bow down" is the same as "bend over" where you bend forward from the waist. It is not the same as kneel which means to bend your legs until you are resting on your knees.
    Bend down can be the same as bend over e.g. a bowing action, or more exaggerated if one bends one's knees as the same time.
    I don't think lean down sounds natural: we might say lean over which I suggest would mean a bending action whilst supporting oneself against something or someone else i.e. leaning against it/them.
     

    stephenlearner

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you. Bend forward from a waist, do you mean the upper body is (or almost ) parallel to the ground? Can bow down, bend over, and bend down all mean it? The difference is bend down means your knees also bend but bend over and bow down do not mean that?
     

    stephenlearner

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Some native speaker said "bow down" means the upper body was at or near horizontal, or a position where the person was on one knee and bowing forward, or on both knees and bowing forward with the head at or near the ground.

    So bow down sometimes might mean kneel. Do you agree? 
     

    tepatria

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    If you said "He bowed down" to me, I would interpret that as he bent at the waist, not that he knelt down. He could kneel on one knee and bow down, or he could be on both knees and bow down, but unless you described those motions to me bow down would not mean kneeling first then bowing.
     

    stephenlearner

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you very much.

    If you sit in a chair, do you lean forward or bend over / bend down to pick up the pen on the ground?
     
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