(to rhyme with flow ). (Anglo-Saxon, boga; verb,
bogan or bugan, to arch.)
Draw not your bow till your arrow is fixed.
Have everything ready before you begin. He has a famous bow up
at the castle. Said of a braggart or pretender.
He has two strings to his bow.
Two means of accomplishing his object; if one fails, he can try the
other. The allusion is to the custom of the British bowmen carrying a
reserve string in case of accident.
To draw a bow at a venture.
To attack with a random remark; to make a random remark which may
hit the truth.
“A certain man drew a bow at a venture and smote the King of
Israel.” - 1 Kings xxii. 34.
To draw the long bow.
To exaggerate. The long-bow was the famous English weapon till
gunpowder was introduced, and it is said that a good archer could hit
between the fingers of a man's hand at a considerable distance, and
could propel his arrow a mile. The tales told about long-bow
adventures are so wonderful that they fully justify the phrase given
To unstring the bow will not heal the wound
(Italian). René of Anjou, king of Sicily, on the death of his wife,
Isabeau of Lorraine, adopted the emblem of a bow with the string
broken, and with the words given above for the motto, by which he
meant, “Lamentation for the loss of his wife was but poor
(to rhyme with now ). The fore-end of a boat or ship.
(Danish and Norwegian, boug or bov, a shoulder;
On the bow.
Within a range of 45 on one side or the other of the prow.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894