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to bend the knee or body or incline the head, as in reverence, submission, salutation, recognition, or acknowledgment.
to yield; submit:
to bow to the inevitable.
to bend or curve downward; stoop:
the pines bowed low.
to bend or incline (the knee, body, or head) in worship, submission, respect, civility, agreement, etc.:
He bowed his head to the crowd.
to cause to submit; subdue; crush.
to cause to stoop or incline:
Age had bowed his head.
to express by a bow:
to bow one’s thanks.
to usher (someone) with a bow (usually followed by in, out, etc.):
They were bowed in by the footman.
to cause to bend; make curved or crooked.
an inclination of the head or body in salutation, assent, thanks, reverence, respect, submission, etc.
bow out, to resign a position or withdraw from a job, competition, obligation, etc.:
He bowed out after two terms as governor.
bow and scrape, to be excessively polite or deferential.
make one’s bow, to appear publicly for the first time, as a performer, politician, etc.:
The young pianist made her bow last night to an appreciative audience.
take a bow, to step forward or stand up in order to receive recognition, applause, etc.:
The conductor had the soloists take a bow.
a flexible strip of wood or other material, bent by a string stretched between its ends, for shooting arrows:
He drew the bow and sent the arrow to its target.
an instrument resembling this, used for various purposes, as rotating a drill or spindle, or loosening entangled or matted fibers.
a bend or curve.
Also called bowknot. a looped knot composed of two or more loops and two ends, as for tying together the ends of a ribbon or string.
any separate piece of looped, knotted, or shaped gathering of ribbon, cloth, paper, etc., used as a decoration, as on a package, dress, or the like.
a long rod, originally curved but now nearly straight, with horsehairs stretched from one end to the other, used for playing on a musical instrument of the violin and viol families.
a single movement of such a device over the strings of a violin, viol, or the like.
bow tie.
something curved or arc-shaped.
a saddlebow.
an archer; bowman:
He is the best bow in the county.
temple2 (def 3).
a U -shaped piece for placing under an animal’s neck to hold a yoke.
Building Trades. a flexible rod used for laying out large curves.
the part of a key grasped by the fingers.
the loop on the stem of a watch by which the watch is attached to a chain or the like.
a rainbow.
curved outward at the center; bent:
bow legs.
to bend into the form of a bow; curve.
Music. to perform by means of a bow upon a stringed instrument.
Textiles Obsolete. to loosen by passing a vibrating bow among entangled fibers.
Nautical, Aeronautics.

the forward end of a vessel or airship.
either side of this forward end, especially with reference to the direction of a distant object:
a mooring two points off the port bow.

bows, Nautical. the exterior of the forward end of a vessel, especially one in which the hull slopes back on both sides of the stem.
the foremost oar in rowing a boat.
Also called bowman, bow oar. the person who pulls that oar.
of or relating to the bow of a ship.
bows on, (of a ship) with the bow foremost:
The vessel approached us bows on.
bows under, (of a ship) shipping water at the bow:
The ship was bows under during most of the storm.
on the bow, Nautical. within 45° to the heading of the vessel.
Clara, 1905–65, U.S. film actress: known as the “It Girl.”.
Contemporary Examples

Why Are Conservatives So Freaked Out by Gays? Dean Obeidallah February 28, 2014
Why the Mosque Scares the Right M.J. Akbar August 13, 2010
Benghazi Killer Is on a Warship Made From World Trade Center Steel Michael Daly June 20, 2014
‘Catching Fire’: How Jennifer Lawrence Learned to Shoot a Bow and Arrow Kevin Fallon November 25, 2013
The Next Twin Peaks? Jace Lacob July 7, 2010

Historical Examples

Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 10 Charles Herbert Sylvester
Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
The Madman and the Pirate R.M. Ballantyne
Fair Margaret H. Rider Haggard
Witches Cove Roy J. Snell

to lower (one’s head) or bend (one’s knee or body) as a sign of respect, greeting, assent, or shame
to bend or cause to bend; incline downwards
(intransitive; usually foll by to or before) to comply or accept: bow to the inevitable
(transitive; foll by in, out, to etc) to usher (someone) into or out of a place with bows and deference: the manager bowed us to our car
(transitive; usually foll by down) to bring (a person, nation, etc) to a state of submission
bow and scrape, to behave in an excessively deferential or obsequious way
a lowering or inclination of the head or body as a mark of respect, greeting, or assent
take a bow, to acknowledge or receive applause or praise
a weapon for shooting arrows, consisting of an arch of flexible wood, plastic, metal, etc bent by a string (bowstring) fastened at each end See also crossbow

a long slightly curved stick across which are stretched strands of horsehair, used for playing the strings of a violin, viola, cello, or related instrument
a stroke with such a stick

a decorative interlacing of ribbon or other fabrics, usually having two loops and two loose ends
the knot forming such an interlacing; bowknot

something that is curved, bent, or arched
(in combination): rainbow, oxbow, saddlebow

a person who uses a bow and arrow; archer

a frame of a pair of spectacles
a sidepiece of the frame of a pair of spectacles that curls round behind the ear

a metal ring forming the handle of a pair of scissors or of a large old-fashioned key
(architect) part of a building curved in the form of a bow See also bow window
to form or cause to form a curve or curves
to make strokes of a bow across (violin strings)
(mainly nautical)

(often pl) the forward end or part of a vessel
(as modifier): the bow mooring line

(rowing) short for bowman2
(nautical) on the port bow, within 45 degrees to the port of straight ahead
(nautical) on the starboard bow, within 45 degrees to the starboard of straight ahead
(informal) a shot across someone’s bows, a warning
Clara, known as the It Girl. 1905–65, US film actress, noted for her vivacity and sex appeal
bag of waters (the amniotic sac in pregnancy)

bow and scrape
bow out


Read Also:

  • Bow–and–scrape

    to bend the knee or body or incline the head, as in reverence, submission, salutation, recognition, or acknowledgment. to yield; submit: to bow to the inevitable. to bend or curve downward; stoop: the pines bowed low. to bend or incline (the knee, body, or head) in worship, submission, respect, civility, agreement, etc.: He bowed his […]

  • Bow-back

    a chair back formed of a single length of wood bent into a horseshoe form and fitted to a seat or arm rail, with spindles or slats as a filling.

  • Bow-bells

    the bells of Bow church, in the East End district of London: traditionally, a true Cockney is born and raised within the sound of Bow bells. Historical Examples Saunterings in and about London Max Schlesinger The Queer, the Quaint and the Quizzical Frank H. Stauffer

  • Bow-collector

    noun a sliding current collector, consisting of a bow-shaped strip mounted on a hinged framework, used on trains, etc, to collect current from an overhead-wire Compare skate1 (sense 4)

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