a bow (1)



  • A weapon made of a curved piece of wood or other flexible material whose ends are connected by a string, used for shooting arrows.
  • A curved bend in a rod or planar surface, or in a linear formation such as a river (see oxbow).
  • A rod with horsehair (or an artificial substitute) stretched between the ends, used for playing various stringed musical instruments.
  • A stringed instrument (chordophone), consisting of a stick with a single taut cord stretched between the ends, most often played by plucking.
  • A type of knot with two loops, used to tie together two cords such as shoelaces or apron strings, and frequently used as decoration, such as in gift-wrapping.
  • Anything bent or curved, such as a rainbow.
  • The U-shaped piece which goes around the neck of an ox and fastens it to the yoke.
  • Either of the arms of a pair of spectacles, running from the side of the lens to behind the wearer's ear.
  • Any instrument consisting of an elastic rod, with ends connected by a string, employed for giving reciprocating motion to a drill, or for preparing and arranging hair, fur, etc., used by hatters.
  • A crude sort of quadrant formerly used for taking the sun's altitude at sea.
  • Two pieces of wood which form the arched forward part of a saddletree.
  • The part of a key that is not inserted into the lock and that is used to turn the key.
  • A gesture, usually showing respect, made by inclining the head or bending forward at the waist; a reverence
  • The front of a boat or ship.
  • The rower that sits in the seat closest to the bow of the boat.


  • To play music on (a stringed) instrument using a bow.
  • To become bent or curved.
  • To make something bend or curve.
  • To exercise powerful or controlling influence over; to bend, figuratively; to turn; to incline.
  • To bend oneself as a gesture of respect or deference.
  • To debut.
  • To defer (to something).
  • To give a direction, indication, or command to by bowing.


Similar words

Opposite words

Broader meaning words


  • From Middle English bowe, boȝe, from Old English boga, from Proto-West Germanic *bogō, from Proto-Germanic *bugô. Cognate with West Frisian boge, Dutch boog, German Bogen, Danish bue, Norwegian boge, bue, Swedish båge.
  • From Middle English bowen, buwen, buȝen, from Old English būgan, from Proto-West Germanic *beugan, from Proto-Germanic *beuganą, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰūgʰ- ("to bend"). Cognate with Dutch buigen, German biegen, Danish bue.
  • From Middle English bowe, bowgh, a borrowing from Middle Low German bôch and/or Middle Dutch boech, from Proto-Germanic *bōguz, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰeh₂ǵʰus ("arm"). Cognate with Dutch boeg, Danish bov, Swedish bog. bough.
  • See bough.

Modern English dictionary

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