There are 3 main definitions of bow in English:

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bow1

Syllabification: bow

noun

1A knot tied with two loops and two loose ends, used especially for tying shoelaces and decorative ribbons: a girl with long hair tied back in a bow
More example sentences
  • Tie the red ribbon in a bow and stitch in place through the center knot, referring to the photo for placement.
  • He looks very jaunty, hands on hips, his cap pushed back on his head and his cap ribbon tied in a bow.
  • After your child completes several cards, stack and lace them together through the eyelets on the left edge to form a book, tying the ribbon ends in a bow.
1.1A decorative ribbon tied in a bow.
Example sentences
  • Purchase Christmas cards, wrapping paper, tissue, bows, ribbon and decorations for next year while they are on sale now.
  • Don't buy expensive ribbons and bows to decorate your packages, if you hunt around you can find the cheap stuff that will be just as pretty!
  • Montgomery also will put up as many as six Christmas trees and decorate them with bows, ornaments and small photo frames.
2A weapon for shooting arrows, typically made of a curved piece of wood whose ends are joined by a taut string.
Example sentences
  • They had walked and driven for hours to get there, carrying the only weapons they possessed - bows and arrows, spears and machetes.
  • The catalogue, includes an assortment of weapons: bows and arrows, swords and spears.
  • Swords, spears, bows and arrows and many other weapons were being made in full force.
Synonyms
2.1A bowman.
3A long, partially curved rod with horsehair stretched along its length, used for playing the violin and other stringed instruments.
Example sentences
  • When the electric is used, it's played with a violin bow, which results in a sound I'm sure we could use to communicate with whales.
  • Rosin can be used as a plasticizer, in the manufacture of varnishes and printing inks, and also to treat bows for stringed instruments.
  • The stealer of the show was definitely Peers when he played his guitar like an upside-down guitar with a violin bow.
3.1A single passage of a bow over the strings of a violin or other stringed instrument.
Example sentences
  • She claims to have used a lighter bow for Schubert than Brahms.
  • Rapid bowing, slow bows and staccato to bowing are reviewed, and exercises for each are prescribed.
  • Bow every note slowly while concentrating on bow placement and technique.
4A thing that is bent or curved in shape, in particular.
4.1A curved stroke forming part of a letter (e.g., b, p).
Example sentences
  • The scribe's standard capital "D" is formed of two strokes, a vertical stroke forming the back that curves a bit to the left at the top, and the right stroke forming the bow.
  • In particular, the bow of the letter a is particularly sharp and pointed.
  • The letter D develops gradually the uncial form ... by lengthening the upper stroke of the bow.
4.2A metal ring forming the handle of a key or pair of scissors.
Example sentences
  • At least the finger bow provided at the movable scissors blade is made ... of a resilient synthetic material or similar material.
  • It’s obvious that bow scissors are suitable for delicate work.
  • It has long been known to manufacture scissors with finger and thumb bows either of the same size or with the finger bow larger than the thumb bow.
4.3North American A side piece or lens frame of a pair of glasses.
Example sentences
  • The lenses don't meet the corners of the frame where the bows attach.
  • This hearing aid device has a body that can be attached to an eyeglasses bow has a channel therein for acceptance of a flexible eyeglasses bow end piece.
  • A pair of eyeglasses includes an elongated lens unit, a pair of connectors, and a pair of elongated bows.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1Play (a stringed instrument or music) using a bow: the techniques by which the pieces were bowed
More example sentences
  • Equally, it is not string players who are expected to bow a saw or a cymbal.
  • I could see they were impressed with my first piece as I bowed the last note.
  • He took the recorded testimonies of Holocaust survivors and scored them as computer samples against the striking bowed chords of a string quartet.
2Bend into the shape of a bow: the sides of the image are squeezed in or bowed out
More example sentences
  • The scene fades to the golden arches and a French fry bowed into the shape of smile.
  • They were right; each spring I sense the tolling of the cow bells, feel my legs bowing to take the shape of a horse and find myself drawn again to Spain, always arriving in time to mount up and ride out behind the cattle.

Origin

Old English boga 'bend, bow, arch', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch boog and German Bogen, also to bow2.

More
  • The bow of a ship has nothing to do with a person bowing in respect or a support bowing under pressure. The nautical bow (early 17th century) is in fact related to bough (Old English), the limb of a tree. Its immediate source, in the later Middle Ages, was German or Dutch. The phrase a shot across the bows, ‘a warning statement or gesture’, has its origins in the world of naval warfare, where it is one which is not intended to hit, but to make ships stop or alter their course. See also buxom. The archer's bow and the act of bending, both Old English, are related and come from Germanic roots. The archer's bow got its name from the shape, which also appears in Old English rainbow and elbow (Old English). The first part of the latter gives us the old measurement the ell, a variable measure, originally the distance from elbow to fingertip, which comes from the Indo-European root that also gives us ulna (mid 16th century) for the bone that runs from elbow to wrist.

Words that rhyme with bow

allow, avow, Bilbao, Bissau, bough, bow-wow, brow, cacao, chow, ciao, cow, dhow, Dow, endow, Foochow, Frau, Hangzhou, Hough, how, Howe, kowtow, Lao, Liao, Macao, Macau, miaow, Mindanao, mow, now, ow, Palau, plough (US plow), pow, prow, row, scow, Slough, sough, sow, Tao, thou, vow, wow, Yangshao

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There are 3 main definitions of bow in English:

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bow2

Syllabification: bow

verb

[no object]
1Bend the head or upper part of the body as a sign of respect, greeting, or shame: he turned and bowed to his father they refused to bow down before the king (as adjective bowed) councilors stood with heads bowed [with object]: she knelt and bowed her head
More example sentences
  • The man climbed off his horse, and bowed to Dominic in respect.
  • Drake's head rose from its resting place, I bowed to show my respect to my own creator.
  • Haman was furious with Mordecai, because Mordecai refused to bow down before him to show his respect.
Synonyms
incline the body, incline the head, nod, salaam, kowtow, curtsy, bob, genuflect
1.1 [with object] Express (thanks, agreement, or other sentiments) by bending one’s head respectfully: he looked at Hector before bowing grave thanks
More example sentences
  • Just email me and rant and rave and I'll get back to you, bowing thanks for putting me on your favorites list!
  • In his small webbed hands he held Spitz's helmet which Pax gently accepted bowing his thanks.
  • I bowed agreement, but ventured to make a suggestion.
1.2 [no object] Bend the body in order to see or concentrate: [as adjective]: my mother sat bowed over a library book
More example sentences
  • He stood from the upturned bucket he'd been sitting on and grasped my small hand in his, bowing over it to press his lips firmly onto my hand.
2Bend with age or under pressure: the grass bowed down before the wind [with object]: the vines were bowed down with flowers
More example sentences
  • I did put out a quiver-tip, which rocked back and forth like a blade of grass bowing and stooping before the wind.
  • Pensioners, although they appear bowed by the more strenuous life they once went through, find time for a humorous chat on a bench in front of St Mary's Church.
  • If your walls are bowed, bumpy or imperfect, you might be able to achieve a better finish by stripping them bare.
2.1Submit to pressure or to someone’s demands: the mayor bowed to public opinion
More example sentences
  • Only a day earlier, she had reluctantly bowed to pressure from senior Congress Party members to accept the job.
  • But last week Britain, too, bowed to the pressure.
  • Despite giving my backing to his campaign against New Years Eve parties as usual I bowed to peer-group pressure and went out on the night itself.
Synonyms
yield to, submit to, give in to, surrender to, succumb to, capitulate to, defer to, conform to;
comply with, accept, heed, observe
3chiefly North American (Of a movie or product) be premiered or launched: the trailer bowed in theaters nationwide on December 23 the Pentium III bowed in early 1999
More example sentences
  • The same can be said of other models bowing next year.

noun

Back to top  
1An act of bending the head or upper body as a sign of respect or greeting: the man gave a little bow
More example sentences
  • Then she smiled nicely, took a little bow, blew a kiss, and gave just the briefest, politest, friendliest pump of a fist.
  • I stood there for a while before wandering over to the fountain, where a Hispanic guy was taking mock bows for his friends.
  • Chris gave her a mock bow, before taking her empty bottle.
Synonyms
obeisance, salaam, bob, curtsy, nod
archaic reverence
2The premiere or launch of a movie or product: the new big screen will make its bow at the game on Saturday

Origin

Old English būgan 'bend, stoop', of Germanic origin; related to German biegen, also to bow1.

More
  • The bow of a ship has nothing to do with a person bowing in respect or a support bowing under pressure. The nautical bow (early 17th century) is in fact related to bough (Old English), the limb of a tree. Its immediate source, in the later Middle Ages, was German or Dutch. The phrase a shot across the bows, ‘a warning statement or gesture’, has its origins in the world of naval warfare, where it is one which is not intended to hit, but to make ships stop or alter their course. See also buxom. The archer's bow and the act of bending, both Old English, are related and come from Germanic roots. The archer's bow got its name from the shape, which also appears in Old English rainbow and elbow (Old English). The first part of the latter gives us the old measurement the ell, a variable measure, originally the distance from elbow to fingertip, which comes from the Indo-European root that also gives us ulna (mid 16th century) for the bone that runs from elbow to wrist.

Phrases

bow and scrape

1
Behave in an obsequious way to someone in authority.
Example sentences
  • So Russ flipped out and is in trouble for attacking some poor guy who was probably not in the mood to bow and scrape before the superstar.
  • The community are now having to bow and scrape, apologising and reasoning for what four freaks, four statistical anomalies, four twisted and tortured minds have done.
  • A stubborn defender of his own beliefs, and commendably reluctant to bow and scrape at the altar of the Old Firm, he may have overstepped the mark this time.

make one's bow

2
Make one’s first formal appearance in a particular role: he made his bow as a science fiction writer
More example sentences
  • This is the first time they have progressed beyond the first round since making their bow in the competition in 1995.
  • The 32-year-old, who was released by Boro at the end of last season, will join his new team-mates at training today before making his bow between the sticks in tonight's friendly against Gainsborough Trinity.
  • Snooker's glamour boy makes his bow in this year's UK Championship in York at 10 am on Wednesday morning.

take a bow

3
(Of a performer) acknowledge applause after a performance by bowing: figurative the aides do the grind work while the boss takes the bows
More example sentences
  • A young woman takes a bow after her ‘performance’.
  • Her son Teddy, a musician in his own right who co-wrote some of the songs on her comeback album, tells her exasperatedly that she is meant to stay on stage at the end of her performance and take a bow, not scurry off into the wings.
  • When the conductor beckoned them to take a bow after the performance, the audience rose as one to acclaim them.

Phrasal verbs

bow out

1
Withdraw or retire from an activity, role, or commitment: many artists are forced to bow out of the profession at a relatively early age
More example sentences
  • The dip in applications this year will be a further blow to principals, many of whom are struggling to fill vacancies caused by teachers retiring, bowing out early and leaving the job to go into other careers.
  • I thought he missed his chance to bow out and retire undefeated - but then I am not the first, nor the last, to be wrong.
  • The York theatre legend had to bow out of the star role after the opening night when he was taken to hospital with intense stomach pains.
Synonyms
withdraw, resign, retire, step down, pull out, back out;
give up, quit, leave, pack it in

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There are 3 main definitions of bow in English:

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bow3

Syllabification: bow
(also bows)

noun

The front end of a ship: water sprayed high over her bows stand in the bow
More example sentences
  • The former, as prime contractor, builds the aft and central superstructure, the latter the ship's bow and distinctive pyramidal main mast.
  • The ceiling lights lit in a sequence from the aft deck to the bow of the ship and the floor lighting blinked twice before staying on.
  • Without the support of the bowsprit, the long spar that extends forward from the bow of the ship, there was no support for the masts.
Synonyms

Origin

late Middle English: from Low German boog, Dutch boeg 'shoulder or ship's bow'; related to bough.

More
  • The bow of a ship has nothing to do with a person bowing in respect or a support bowing under pressure. The nautical bow (early 17th century) is in fact related to bough (Old English), the limb of a tree. Its immediate source, in the later Middle Ages, was German or Dutch. The phrase a shot across the bows, ‘a warning statement or gesture’, has its origins in the world of naval warfare, where it is one which is not intended to hit, but to make ships stop or alter their course. See also buxom. The archer's bow and the act of bending, both Old English, are related and come from Germanic roots. The archer's bow got its name from the shape, which also appears in Old English rainbow and elbow (Old English). The first part of the latter gives us the old measurement the ell, a variable measure, originally the distance from elbow to fingertip, which comes from the Indo-European root that also gives us ulna (mid 16th century) for the bone that runs from elbow to wrist.

Phrases

on the bow

1
Nautical Within 45° of the point directly ahead.
Example sentences
  • Four miles out to sea, both Nicholas and Hays agreed that it would be a fine day to see a broadbill or spearfish on the surface and within ten seconds a fin obligingly appeared 300 yards away directly on the bow.
  • ‘This will not be a problem as they will take this southwesterly gale straight on the bow of the ship,’ the department said.
  • We held on for dear life, braving the swells of the Tasman Sea, as the dolphins played on the bow and jumped in our wake.

a (warning) shot across the bows

2
A statement or gesture intended to frighten someone into changing their course of action: supporters are firing a warning shot across the President’s bows
More example sentences
  • This is simply a warning shot across the bows of the Iraqi leadership.
  • There are not that many who have been completely barred but it's fired a warning shot across the bows.
  • Apparently they sometimes give you a warning shot across the bows before they sink the fangs in.

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