kowtow after each step

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member
Chinese - Mandarin
Hello, everyone:

1. On the day I was there, I saw some pious Buddhists kowtow after each step they took toward the statue until they reached its base.
(Sacred sightseeing By Ni Dandan - Global Times)

2. In paying homages to Buddha, some farmers and nomads even kowtow at every step, starting from their homes .
(The Path to Mysterious Tibet By Frank Wong - Google Book)

Is it good to say "kowtow at every step" or "kowtow after each step" ? I think they are same.

Thank you.
  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I personally wouldn't use either.:(

    The verb "to kowtow", nowadays conveys some very unfortunate connotations colloquially of being subservient in a mocking or insincere way, and comes across to me as a potentially rather offensive way of describing a form of religious observance.

    However, that may just be symptomatic of the way in which some words whose literal meaning is perfectly innocuous, have become corrupted to the point where it's inadvisable to continue using them for fear of being misconstrued.
    They are not quite the same: "at every step" could theoretically mean they "kowtowed" as they stepped (but I think that would be impossible), and "after every step" would mean that they took a step then knelt and touched the ground with the forehead before standing up and taking another step. But since they couldn't actually kowtow and step at the same time, you could use either version.
    In the context, if it means they knelt and touched the ground with the forehead, then it would be appropriate, I think, to keep "kowtowed".
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >