bow

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See also: bōw

English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Old English boga, from Proto-Germanic *bugô. Cognate with West Frisian boge, Dutch boog, German Bogen, Danish bue, Swedish båge.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

a bow (1)
Four different types of bow (3)

bow (plural bows)

  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.
  2. A curved bend in a rod or planar surface, or in a linear formation such as a river (see oxbow).
  3. A rod with horsehair (or an artificial substitute) stretched between the ends, used for playing various stringed musical instruments.
  4. A stringed instrument, similar to the item described above.
  5. 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.
  6. Anything bent or curved, such as a rainbow.
    • Bible, Genesis ix. 13
      I do set my bow in the cloud.
  7. The U-shaped piece which goes around the neck of an ox and fastens it to the yoke.
  8. 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.
  9. (nautical) A crude sort of quadrant formerly used for taking the sun's altitude at sea.
  10. (saddlery) Two pieces of wood which form the arched forward part of a saddletree.
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Verb[edit]

bow (third-person singular simple present bows, present participle bowing, simple past and past participle bowed)

  1. To play music on (a stringed instrument) using a bow.
    The musician bowed his violin expertly.
  2. (intransitive) To become bent or curved.
    The shelf bowed under the weight of the books.
  3. (transitive) To make something bend or curve.
    • Milton
      We bow things the contrary way, to make them come to their natural straightness.
    • Prescott
      The whole nation bowed their necks to the worst kind of tyranny.
  4. (transitive, figuratively) To exercise powerful or controlling influence over; to bend, figuratively; to turn; to incline.
    • Francis Bacon
      Adversities do more bow men's minds to religion.
    • Fuller
      not to bow and bias their opinions
  5. (intransitive) To premiere.
    Cronenberg’s "Cosmopolis" bows in Cannes this week.
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old English būgan, from Proto-Germanic *beuganą, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰūgʰ- (to bend). Cognate with Dutch buigen, German biegen, Danish bue.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

bow (third-person singular simple present bows, present participle bowing, simple past and past participle bowed)

  1. (intransitive) To bend oneself as a gesture of respect or deference.
    • 1900, L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
      The soldier now blew upon a green whistle, and at once a young girl, dressed in a pretty green silk gown, entered the room. She had lovely green hair and green eyes, and she bowed low before Dorothy as she said, "Follow me and I will show you your room."
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 4, Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      I told him about everything I could think of; and what I couldn't think of he did. He asked about six questions during my yarn, but every question had a point to it. At the end he bowed and thanked me once more. As a thanker he was main-truck high; I never see anybody so polite.
    That singer always bows towards her audience for some reason.
  2. (transitive and intransitive) To debut.
    • 2010 (publication date), Kara Krekeler, "Rebuilding the opera house", West End Word, volume 39, number 26, December 22, 2010 – January 11, 2011, page 1:
      SCP recently announced that How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical will bow on the newly renovated stage next December.
  3. (intransitive) To defer (to something).
    I bow to your better judgement in the matter.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Noun[edit]

bow (plural bows)

  1. A gesture, usually showing respect, made by inclining the head or bending forward at the waist.
    He bowed politely as he entered the room.
  2. A debut
    The new product will make its bow on the world market this summer.
    • 1832, “Literary Notices”, The Rail-Road Journal, volume 1, number 1, page 123: 
      The first named one, it will be observed, is but a debutant. It makes its bow in a drab-colored Quaker-looking dress, and barring a lively McGrawler-like critique upon " Lewis' Poems," is staid and professorial in its tone.
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

From Middle Dutch boech or Old Norse bógr.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

The bow of a ship.

bow (plural bows)

  1. (nautical) The front of a boat or ship.
    • 1907, Harold Bindloss, chapter 6, The Dust of Conflict[1]:
      The night was considerably clearer than anybody on board her desired when the schooner Ventura headed for the land. It rose in places, black and sharp against the velvety indigo, over her dipping bow, though most of the low littoral was wrapped in obscurity.
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