Definition of bow and scrape in US English:

bow and scrape


  • Behave in an obsequious way to someone in authority.

    • ‘So Russ flipped out and is in trouble for attacking some poor guy who was probably not in the mood to bow and scrape before the superstar.’
    • ‘A stubborn defender of his own beliefs, and commendably reluctant to bow and scrape at the altar of the Old Firm, he may have overstepped the mark this time.’
    • ‘A series of columns in the November 25 issue all exhibited an irrepressible need to bow and scrape before the Republican right.’
    • ‘He further remarked that Americans were fierce egalitarians who, despite differences of income and status, refused to bow and scrape before anybody.’
    • ‘People are expected to curtsey, bow and scrape before them.’
    • ‘The community are now having to bow and scrape, apologising and reasoning for what four freaks, four statistical anomalies, four twisted and tortured minds have done.’
    • ‘How could a region that possessed such an incomparable language bow and scrape to States where people spoke the inferior Hindi?’
    • ‘Just how long is a refugee supposed to bow and scrape?’
    • ‘Why is it American media types bow and scrape before Europeans as our obvious genetic masters?’
    • ‘Last month, I met him at another awards ceremony, and he got similarly royal treatment, with well-wishers and sycophants issuing forth to bow and scrape.’
    • ‘The waiters will bow and scrape and tend to your every wish, for I will have pre-arranged this level of service with the manager.’
    • ‘Don't call me Lord Peter, Charles, I refuse to allow a perfectly decent though rather dull man to bow and scrape to me!’
    • ‘At the same time, don't bow and scrape before the vulgar, even when they are proud and full of themselves.’
    • ‘The idea that we should bow and scrape to such a family is obscene.’
    • ‘Break it up, and let us staff it with people who care about what they do, and do not have to bow and scrape to a Government bureaucracy that inhibits them from being as constructive as they possibly can be.’
    • ‘The fact is that we are expected to bow and scrape to them simply because they were born with that name (or obtained it through marriage).’
    • ‘I was of one of the most noble families of the Roman Empire, yet this man inspired such a fear in me that I would bow and scrape to him.’
    • ‘But every time we do so, we have had to bow and scrape and beg and plead to please be allowed to do the right thing.’
    • ‘Just so long as we don't have to bow and scrape too much we'll do our bit to improve her day, just as she's done hers to improve all of mine.’
    • ‘You can bet on football and basketball with drug-dealing bookmakers as long as you bow and scrape and genuflect when called onto the commissioner's carpet.’