Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To bend or curve downward; stoop.
  • intransitive verb To incline the body or head or bend the knee in greeting, consent, courtesy, acknowledgment, submission, or veneration.
  • intransitive verb To yield in defeat or out of courtesy; submit. synonym: yield.
  • intransitive verb To bend (the head, knee, or body) to express greeting, consent, courtesy, acknowledgment, submission, or veneration.
  • intransitive verb To convey (greeting, for example) by bending the body.
  • intransitive verb To escort deferentially.
  • intransitive verb To cause to acquiesce; submit.
  • intransitive verb To overburden.
  • noun An inclination of the head or body, as in greeting, consent, courtesy, acknowledgment, submission, or veneration.
  • idiom (bow and scrape) To behave obsequiously.
  • noun A bent, curved, or arched object.
  • noun A weapon consisting of a curved, flexible strip of material, especially wood, strung taut from end to end and used to launch arrows.
  • noun An archer.
  • noun Archers considered as a group.
  • noun Music A rod having horsehair drawn tightly between its two raised ends, used in playing instruments of the violin and viol families.
  • noun A stroke made by this rod.
  • noun A knot usually having two loops and two ends; a bowknot.
  • noun A frame for the lenses of a pair of eyeglasses.
  • noun The part of such a frame passing over the ear.
  • noun A rainbow.
  • noun An oxbow.
  • intransitive verb To bend (something) into the shape of a bow.
  • intransitive verb Music To play (a stringed instrument) with a bow.
  • intransitive verb To bend into a curve or bow.
  • intransitive verb Music To play a stringed instrument with a bow.
  • noun The front section of a ship or boat.
  • noun Either of the sides of this front section.
  • noun The oar or the person wielding the oar closest to the bow in a racing shell.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An inclination of the head or a bending of the body in salutation, or in token of reverence, respect, civility, submission, assent, or thanks.
  • To become bent or crooked; assume a curved form; bend; curve.
  • To tend; turn; incline.
  • To bend or curve downward; take a bent posture or attitude; stoop.
  • To bend the neck under a yoke; submit or become subject; yield: as, to bow to the inevitable.
  • To bend the body or head in worship, or in token of reverence, respect, or submission: with to or before, and sometimes emphasized by down.
  • To make a bow; incline the body or the head toward a person by way of salutation or friendly recognition, or in acknowledgment of some courtesy.
  • To cause to bend; make curved or crooked; cause to assume and retain a bent shape.
  • To cause to stoop or become bent, as with old age or a burden; hence, to crush.
  • To cause to bend in submission; cause to submit; subdue.
  • To bend; inflect; cause to deviate from a given condition.
  • To incline; turn in a particular direction; influence.
  • To bend or incline in worship or adoration, or in token of submission, homage, respect, civility, condescension, or attention.
  • To express by a bow or by bowing: as, to bow one's thanks or assent.
  • To accompany or usher in, out, etc., with a bow or bows.
  • noun A Scotch form of boll.
  • noun . Same as bough. Compare with bowpot for boughpot.
  • noun Nautical, the forward part or head of a ship, beginning where the sides trend inward, and terminating where they close or unite in the stem or prow. A narrow bow is called a lean bow; a broad one, a bold or bluff bow.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English bowen, from Old English būgan; see bheug- in Indo-European roots.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English bowe, from Old English boga; see bheug- in Indo-European roots.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English boue, probably of Low German origin; see bheug- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English būgan, from Proto-Germanic *beuganan. Cognate with Dutch buigen, German biegen.

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Take a bow or draw a bow.

    November 22, 2007

  • Take a bow.

    January 14, 2010

  • IE root bheug- v I E root bhāghu-

    February 5, 2013