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Bowing

We uncover the head when we wish to salute anyone with respect; but the Jews, Turks, Siamese, etc., uncover their feet. The reason is this: With us the chief act of investiture is crowning or placing a cap on the head; but in the East it is putting on the slippers. To take off our symbol of honour is to confess we are but “the humble servant” of the person whom we thus salute. (“Bowing” to rhyme with ploughing or plowing.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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