bow: Meaning and Definition of


Pronunciation: (bou), [key]
— v.i.
  1. to bend the knee or body or incline the head, as in reverence, submission, salutation, recognition, or acknowledgment.
  2. to yield; submit: to bow to the inevitable.
  3. to bend or curve downward; stoop: the pines bowed low.
  1. to bend or incline (the knee, body, or head) in worship, submission, respect, civility, agreement, etc.: He bowed his head to the crowd.
  2. to cause to submit; subdue; crush.
  3. to cause to stoop or incline: Age had bowed his head.
  4. to express by a bow: to bow one's thanks.
  5. to usher (someone) with a bow (usually fol. by in, out, etc.): They were bowed in by the footman.
  6. to cause to bend; make curved or crooked.
  7. to be excessively polite or deferential.
  8. to resign a position or withdraw from a job, competition, obligation, etc.: He bowed out after two terms as governor.
  1. an inclination of the head or body in salutation, assent, thanks, reverence, respect, submission, etc.
  2. to appear publicly for the first time, as a performer, politician, etc.: The young pianist made her bow last night to an appreciative audience.
  3. to step forward or stand up in order to receive recognition, applause, etc.: The conductor had the soloists take a bow.


Pronunciation: (bō), [key]
— n.
  1. 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.
  2. an instrument resembling this, used for various purposes, as rotating a drill or spindle, or loosening entangled or matted fibers.
  3. a bend or curve.
  4. Also calleda looped knot composed of two or more loops and two ends, as for tying together the ends of a ribbon or string.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. a single movement of such a device over the strings of a violin, viol, or the like.
  8. See
  9. something curved or arc-shaped.
  10. a saddlebow.
  11. an archer; bowman: He is the best bow in the county.
  12. temple (def. 3).
  13. a-shaped piece for placing under an animal's neck to hold a yoke.
  14. a flexible rod used for laying out large curves.
  15. the part of a key grasped by the fingers.
  16. the loop on the stem of a watch by which the watch is attached to a chain or the like.
  17. a rainbow.
  1. curved outward at the center; bent: bow legs.
—v.t., v.i.
  1. to bend into the form of a bow; curve.
  2. to perform by means of a bow upon a stringed instrument.
  3. to loosen by passing a vibrating bow among entangled fibers.


Pronunciation: (bou), [key]
— n.
  1. a mooring two points off the port bow.
    1. the forward end of a vessel or airship.
    2. either side of this forward end, esp. with reference to the direction of a distant object:a mooring two points off the port bow.
  2. the exterior of the forward end of a vessel, esp. one in which the hull slopes back on both sides of the stem.
  3. the foremost oar in rowing a boat.
  4. Also calledthe person who pulls that oar.
  5. (of a ship) with the bow foremost: The vessel approached us bows on.
  6. (of a ship) shipping water at the bow: The ship was bows under during most of the storm.
  7. within 45° to the heading of the vessel.
  1. of or pertaining to the bow of a ship.


Pronunciation: (bō), [key]
— n.
  1. 1905–65, U.S. film actress: known as the “It Girl.”
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
See also:
  • bow (Thesaurus)