Meaning of forelock-tugging in English:



mass nounBritish
  • Obsequious or overly deferential behaviour.

    ‘remember when obtaining a mortgage for a house required a great deal of forelock-tugging?’
    • ‘Smith's appropriation of Joyce smells neither of a lack of inspiration nor of gratuitous forelock-tugging.’
    • ‘Perhaps we could start with some ritual forelock-tugging, followed by a long statement of royal allegiance.’
    • ‘Disappointingly, but expectedly, most of the resulting articles have been a mixture of ignorance and/or forelock-tugging.’
    • ‘Does that mean more forelock-tugging to the government and rattling the begging bowl to pay for this exciting departure?’
    • ‘I do not mean to suggest that the order came down from Rove himself; the bureaucrats are perfectly capable of forelock-tugging without outside prompting.’
    • ‘The days of forelock tugging and cap doffing have gone forever.’
    • ‘Do you not understand that the days of forelock-tugging, bowing and scraping and knowing your place are over?’
    • ‘Rejecting any forelock-tugging and any undue deference to his "betters", Hardy is a plain-speaking man.’
    • ‘This is the public image of liberalism, with its mealy-mouthed, enabling, sycophantic forelock-tugging and constant expressions of obeisance to an establishment that holds them in contempt.’


  • Behaving in an obsequious or overly deferential way.

    ‘a simpering, forelock-tugging toady’
    • ‘Such a view wouldn't be out of place from a forelock-tugging serf in Monty Python's Holy Grail.’
    • ‘The driver apologises with so much forelock-tugging deference, he might as well invite you to beat him.’
    • ‘The way he defers to Lady Tottington shows that he's a terrible forelock-tugging snob with social ambitions.’
    • ‘The hobbits' "Shire" resembles a small town in the Home Counties, full of forelock-tugging peasants and happy artisans.’
    • ‘It goes without saying that any criticism from within the pages of a trade magazine must be "constructive" and "mature", i.e., meek, respectful, forelock-tugging and not critical at all.’
    • ‘Ulverton is by definition a pastoral novel, but it's an unsparingly honest one in which working-class characters who would have been colorful, forelock-tugging walk-ons in a more conventional book are given center stage and their full human capacity for truth-telling.’
    • ‘Society has moved on from the forelock-tugging times when the lord chief justice could say, in the 1930s, without fear of ridicule: "His Majesty's judges are satisfied with the almost universal admiration in which they are held."’
    • ‘Bob Cratchit, played by Alan White, was the very epitome of the forelock-tugging underling.’