Kneeled vs knelt

Kneeled is the past tense of kneel, a verb which means to bend the knees and rest upon them. Kneeling is often a position employed when praying or abasing oneself before another.

Knelt is also the past tense of kneel, it is a form that gained prominence in the 19th century and is common today. The words kneeled and knelt are equally correct and interchangeable.

A kneeler is a bench with a shelf designed to make it easier for one to kneel. A kneeler is also known as a prie-dieu, a French term first used in 1760. Prie-dieu literally means pray God.


A related word is genuflect, which means to bend one knee and touch it to the ground, then immediately, stand. It is usually a sign of worship, or more rarely, respect.


When doctors told Thicklin her long odds, she kneeled and began to pray. (The Washington Times)

“It’s growing in not just artists but attendees,” said Ronning, founder and director of the Chalk.a.Lot Sidewalk Festival in Two Harbors, as people sat, crouched, kneeled or even lay alongside squares of the walk along either side of Waterfront Drive, creating temporary works of art.  (The Duluth News Tribune)

They said Herrington kneeled over him, applying a headlock for as long as half an hour while waiting for backup and an ambulance. (The Press Examiner)

On that occasion in 2000, Michael knelt in his jail cell and begged God to help him.  (The Herald-News)

Soon after his appointment to the post of VP in December last year, Mnangagwa knelt before Grace and Mugabe as a show of loyalty and gratitude. (The Standard)

The sobs of a man, grief-stricken with pain, could still be heard feet away, even as he buried his face and hands in the grassy ground and knelt in front of an American flag that leaned against a caution-tape-wrapped pole.  (The Terre Haute Tribune Star)


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