Date: Wed, 28 Jan 1998 23:20:07 -0500

From: Gregory {Greg} Downing downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]IS2.NYU.EDU

Subject: Kow-tow (Was Re: cow-tow?)

That's a word I'll never forget.... When I was a grad student I taught vocab

etc. for some Chinese-American high-school students in Queens over the

summer one year, when they were preparing for the SAT. One word that was in

the book I was given to teach from was kow-tow, which they were at first

surprised to hear was from a version of Chinese for "knock/bump head" (on

the ground, in a submissive bow). Then some of then said, O yeah, that's

right, we know that phrase in Chinese....

It's not particularly US; OED2 cites it from the first half of the 19C, and

those are UK cites.

Greg D./NYU

At 06:25 PM 1/23/98 -0800, you wrote:



I was asked today how to spell "cow-tow" and I couldn't find it in RHDAS or

NDAS . . . probably

because I couldn't spell it. I tried several possibilities without success

(with a vague

recollection that it might be spelled with a k). Does anybody know?


Judi Sanders

Dr. Judi Sanders

Professor, Communication

Cal. State Polytechnic U., Pomona

The Web:

The College Slang Page:


Greg Downing/NYU, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]