Monday, September 12, 2011

Kow-Tow

"Hey Flossie, what does Cow Tao mean?"
Several weeks ago I used the term "kow-tow" to describe a sort of sniveling deferential genuflection demanded by a superior with a usually misplaced sense of self-importance.  (I may have been talking about Greece and Germany re: EU bailouts, but I honestly can't recall right now.)  Anyway you get the picture.  Little did I know that it is actually a Chinese term, to wit: "To emphasize the importance of the occasion, the envoys of all visiting heads of state were required to bow and kow-tow - prostrate themselves and press their foreheads to the ground - at Zhu Di's feet." (Gavin Menzies in 1421, The Year China Discovered The World)  I don't know where else I thought "kow-tow" might have come from (it certainly didn't seem to have a bovine derivation), or even where I first encountered the expression.  At any rate, I'm always happy to learn more about strange terms, and pass them on to OH2ers.  I'm sure you're happy you dropped by today.  (My kids will be especially happy to see that I eschewed Wikipedia for this one.)

The Good News:  My Euro short is still working.  But my Bermuda shorts have been put away.