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bow Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a knot with two loops and loose ends; used to tie shoelaces
  2. noun a slightly curved piece of resilient wood with taut horsehair strands; used in playing certain stringed instruments
  3. noun front part of a vessel or aircraft
    prow; stem; fore.
    • he pointed the bow of the boat toward the finish line
  4. noun a weapon for shooting arrows, composed of a curved piece of resilient wood with a taut cord to propel the arrow
  5. noun something curved in shape
  6. noun bending the head or body or knee as a sign of reverence or submission or shame or greeting
    obeisance; bowing.
  7. noun an appearance by actors or performers at the end of the concert or play in order to acknowledge the applause of the audience
    curtain call.
  8. noun a decorative interlacing of ribbons
  9. noun a stroke with a curved piece of wood with taut horsehair strands that is used in playing stringed instruments
  10. verb bend one's knee or body, or lower one's head
    bow down.
    • He bowed before the King
    • She bowed her head in shame
  11. verb yield to another's wish or opinion
    give in; defer; accede; submit.
    • The government bowed to the military pressure
  12. verb bend the head or the upper part of the body in a gesture of respect or greeting
    • He bowed before the King
  13. verb bend one's back forward from the waist on down
    stoop; crouch; bend.
    • he crouched down
    • She bowed before the Queen
    • The young man stooped to pick up the girl's purse
  14. verb play on a string instrument with a bow

Bow transitive verb
OE. bowen, bogen, bugen, AS. bugan (generally v.i.); akin to D. buigen, OHG. biogan, G. biegen, beugen, Icel. boginn bent, beygja to bend, Sw. böja, Dan. böie, bugne, Coth. biugan; also to L. fugere to flee, Gr. , and Skr. bhuj to bend. Cf. Fugitive.
imperfect & past participle Bowed present participle & verbal noun Bowing
  1. To cause to deviate from straightness; to bend; to inflect; to make crooked or curved.
    We bow things the contrary way, to make them come to their natural straightness. Milton.
    The whole nation bowed their necks to the worst kind of tyranny. Prescott.
  2. To exercise powerful or controlling influence over; to bend, figuratively; to turn; to incline.
    Adversities do more bow men's minds to religion. Bacon.
    Not to bow and bias their opinions. Fuller.
  3. To bend or incline, as the head or body, in token of respect, gratitude, assent, homage, or condescension.
    They came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. 2 Kings ii. 15.
  4. To cause to bend down; to prostrate; to depress,; to crush; to subdue.
    Whose heavy hand hath bowed you to the grave. Shak.
  5. To express by bowing; as, to bow one's thanks.
Bow intransitive verb
  1. To bend; to curve. Obs.
  2. To stop. Archaic
    They stoop, they bow down together. Is. xlvi. 2
  3. To bend the head, knee, or body, in token of reverence or submission; -- often with down.
    O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. Ps. xcv. 6.
  4. To incline the head in token of salutation, civility, or assent; to make bow.
    Admired, adored by all circling crowd, For wheresoe'er she turned her face, they bowed. Dryden.
Bow noun
  1. An inclination of the head, or a bending of the body, in token of reverence, respect, civility, or submission; an obeisance; as, a bow of deep humility.
Bow noun
OE. bowe, boge, AS. boga, fr. AS. bügan to bend; akin to D. boog, G. bogen, Icel. bogi. See Bow, v. t.
  1. Anything bent, or in the form of a curve, as the rainbow.
    I do set my bow in the cloud. Gen. ix. 13.
  2. A weapon made of a strip of wood, or other elastic material, with a cord connecting the two ends, by means of which an arrow is propelled.
  3. An ornamental knot, with projecting lops, formed by doubling a ribbon or string.
  4. The U-shaped piece which embraces the neck of an ox and fastens it to the yoke.
  5. (Mus.) An appliance consisting of an elastic rod, with a number of horse hairs stretched from end to end of it, used in playing on a stringed instrument.
  6. An acrograph.
  7. (Mech. & Manuf.) 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 the hair, fur, etc., used by hatters.
  8. (Naut.) A rude sort of quadrant formerly used for taking the sun's altitude at sea.
  9. (Saddlery) sing. or pl. Two pieces of wood which form the arched forward part of a saddletree.
Bow intransitive verb
imperfect & past participle Bowed present participle & verbal noun Bowing
  1. To play (music) with a bow. -- v. i. To manage the bow.
Bow noun
Icel. bogr shoulder, bow of a ship. See Bough.
  1. (Naut.) The bending or rounded part of a ship forward; the stream or prow.
  2. (Naut.) One who rows in the forward part of a boat; the bow oar. Totten.

Webster 1913