What does BOW mean?

Definitions for BOW

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word BOW.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. bow, bowknotnoun

    a knot with two loops and loose ends; used to tie shoelaces

  2. bownoun

    a slightly curved piece of resilient wood with taut horsehair strands; used in playing certain stringed instruments

  3. bow, fore, prow, stemnoun

    front part of a vessel or aircraft

    "he pointed the bow of the boat toward the finish line"

  4. bownoun

    a weapon for shooting arrows, composed of a curved piece of resilient wood with a taut cord to propel the arrow

  5. bow, arcnoun

    something curved in shape

  6. bow, bowing, obeisancenoun

    bending the head or body or knee as a sign of reverence or submission or shame or greeting

  7. bow, curtain callnoun

    an appearance by actors or performers at the end of the concert or play in order to acknowledge the applause of the audience

  8. bownoun

    a decorative interlacing of ribbons

  9. bowverb

    a stroke with a curved piece of wood with taut horsehair strands that is used in playing stringed instruments

  10. bow, bow downverb

    bend one's knee or body, or lower one's head

    "He bowed before the King"; "She bowed her head in shame"

  11. submit, bow, defer, accede, give inverb

    yield to another's wish or opinion

    "The government bowed to the military pressure"

  12. bowverb

    bend the head or the upper part of the body in a gesture of respect or greeting

    "He bowed before the King"

  13. crouch, stoop, bend, bowverb

    bend one's back forward from the waist on down

    "he crouched down"; "She bowed before the Queen"; "The young man stooped to pick up the girl's purse"

  14. bowverb

    play on a string instrument with a bow


  1. bownoun

    The front of a boat or ship.

  2. Etymology: From bugan, from beuganan. Cognate with Dutch buigen, German biegen.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Bownoun

    An act of reverence or submission, by bending the body.

    Etymology: from the verb. It is pronounced, like the verb, as now, how.

    Some clergy too she wou’d allow,
    Nor quarrel’d at their awkward bow. Jonathan Swift.

  2. Bownoun

    Take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison. Gen. xxvii. 3.

    The white faith of hist’ry cannot show,
    That e’er the musket yet could beat the bow. Charles Aleyn, Henry VII.

    Twining woody haunts, or the tough yew
    To bows strong-straining. James Thomson, Autumn.

    I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. Gen. ix. 13.

    Their instruments were various in their kind;
    Some for the bow, and some for breathing wind:
    The sawtry, pipe, and hautboy’s noisy band,
    And the soft lute trembling beneath the touching hand. John Dryden, Fables.

    Make a knot, and let the second knot be with a bow. Richard Wiseman, Surgery.

    As the ox hath his bow, Sir, the horse his curb, and the faulcon his bells, so man hath his desire. William Shakespeare, As you like it.

  3. To BOWverb

    Etymology: bugen, Saxon.

    A threepence bow’d, would hire me,
    Old as I am, to queen it. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.

    Orpheus, with his lute, made trees,
    And the mountain tops, that freeze,
    Bow themselves when he did sing. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.

    Some bow the vines, which bury’d in the plain,
    Their tops in distant arches rise again. John Dryden, Virgil.

    The mind has not been made obedient to discipline, when at first it was most tender, and most easy to be bowed. John Locke.

    They came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. 2 Kings, ii. 15.

    Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? Isaiah, lviii. 5.

    Let it not grieve thee to bow down thine ear to the poor, and give him a friendly answer. Ecclus, iv. 8.

    Are you so gospell’d,
    To pray for this good man, and for his issue,
    Whose heavy hand hath bow’d you to the grave,
    And beggar’d yours for ever. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    Now wasting years my former strength confound,
    And added woes may bow me to the ground. Alexander Pope.

  4. To Bowverb

    Rather let my head
    Stoop to the block, than these knees bow to any,
    Save to the God of heav’n, and to my king. William Shakespeare, H. VI.

    This is the great idol to which the world bows; to this we pay our devoutest homage. Decay of Piety.

    Admir’d, ador’d by all the circling crowd,
    For wheresoe’er she turn’d her face, they bow’d. Dryden.

    The people bowed down upon their knees, to drink water. Judges, vii. 6.

    They stoop, they bow down together; they could not deliver the burden. Isaiah, xlvi. 2.


  1. bow

    A bow can have several meanings: 1. A knot tied with two loops and two loose ends used especially for tying shoelaces and decorative ribbons. 2. A weapon used for shooting arrows, typically made of a curved piece of wood joined at both ends by a taut string. 3. A gesture expressing respect, gratitude, or subservience, where one bends the waist or sometimes fully prostrates oneself. 4. The front of a ship or boat. 5. A device used for playing string instruments such as violins, made of a curved stick with tightly stretched horsehair strands attached to it. The context of the sentence would determine which definition applies.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Bowverb

    to cause to deviate from straightness; to bend; to inflect; to make crooked or curved

  2. Bowverb

    to exercise powerful or controlling influence over; to bend, figuratively; to turn; to incline

  3. Bowverb

    to bend or incline, as the head or body, in token of respect, gratitude, assent, homage, or condescension

  4. Bowverb

    to cause to bend down; to prostrate; to depress,;/ to crush; to subdue

  5. Bowverb

    to express by bowing; as, to bow one's thanks

  6. Bowverb

    to bend; to curve

  7. Bowverb

    to stop

  8. Bowverb

    to bend the head, knee, or body, in token of reverence or submission; -- often with down

  9. Bowverb

    to incline the head in token of salutation, civility, or assent; to make bow

  10. Bownoun

    an inclination of the head, or a bending of the body, in token of reverence, respect, civility, or submission; an obeisance; as, a bow of deep humility

  11. Bowverb

    anything bent, or in the form of a curve, as the rainbow

  12. Bowverb

    a weapon made of a strip of wood, or other elastic material, with a cord connecting the two ends, by means of which an arrow is propelled

  13. Bowverb

    an ornamental knot, with projecting loops, formed by doubling a ribbon or string

  14. Bowverb

    the U-shaped piece which embraces the neck of an ox and fastens it to the yoke

  15. Bowverb

    an appliance consisting of an elastic rod, with a number of horse hairs stretched from end to end of it, used in playing on a stringed instrument

  16. Bowverb

    an arcograph

  17. Bowverb

    any instrument consisting of an elastic rod, with ends connected by a string, employed for giving reciprocating motion to a drill, or for preparing and arranging the hair, fur, etc., used by hatters

  18. Bowverb

    a rude sort of quadrant formerly used for taking the sun's altitude at sea

  19. Bow

    two pieces of wood which form the arched forward part of a saddletree

  20. Bowverb

    to play (music) with a bow

  21. Bow

    to manage the bow

  22. Bownoun

    the bending or rounded part of a ship forward; the stream or prow

  23. Bownoun

    one who rows in the forward part of a boat; the bow oar

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Bow

    bow, v.i. to bend the body in saluting a person, acknowledging a compliment, &c.: to submit.—v.t. to bend or incline downwards, to crush down (with down, to, in or out, up or down).—n. a bending of the body in saluting a person.—adj. Bow′-backed, crook-backed.—A bowing acquaintance, a slight acquaintance.—To make one's bow, to retire ceremoniously, to leave the stage. [A.S. búgan, to bend; akin to L. fug-ĕre, to flee, to yield.]

  2. Bow

    bō, n. a piece of elastic wood or other material for shooting arrows, bent by means of a string stretched between its two ends: anything of a bent or curved shape, as the rainbow: the instrument by which the strings of a violin are sounded: a ring of metal forming a handle: a knot composed of one or of two loops and two ends (single bow, double bow), a looped knot of ribbons, a necktie or the like, so tied.—adj. Bow′bent (Milton), bent like a bow.—n. Bow′-boy, a boy archer: (Shak.) Cupid.—n.pl. Bow′-com′passes, compasses, one leg of which slides on a bow or curved plate of metal to steady its motion: a small pair of compasses for describing circles with ink or pencil.—adj. Bowed.—ns. Bow′-hand, in archery, the left hand, the one by which the bow is held: (mus.) the right hand, the one that draws the bow; Bow′-leg, a leg crooked like a bow.—adj. Bow′-legged, having crooked legs.—ns. Bow′line, a rope from the weather side of the square sails (to which it is fastened by bridles) to the larboard or starboard bow, to keep the sail close to the wind; Bow′man, an archer; Bow′shot, the distance to which an arrow can be shot from a bow; Bow′string, the string by which a bow is drawn: a string with which the Turks strangled offenders; Bow′-win′dow, a bent or semicircular window.—adj. Bow′-win′dowed (slang), pot-bellied.—n. Bow′yer (obs.), a bowman: a maker of bows.—Bowline knot, a simple but secure knot, used in fastening the bowline bridles to the cringles.—On the bow hand, wide of the mark.—To draw the long bow, to make extravagant statements; To have two (or more) strings to one's bow, to have other alternatives. [A.S. boga; cog. with Ger. bogen.]

  3. Bow

    bow, n. the general name for the stem and forepart of a ship, or that which cuts the water—often used in pl., the ship being considered to have starboard and port bows, meeting at the stem.—ns. Bow′er, Bow′er-anch′or, an anchor at the bow or forepart of a ship—usually two, the best-bower and the small-bower; Bow′-oar, the oar nearest the bow.—A bold, or bluff, bow, a broad bow; A lean bow, a narrow one.—On the bow, within 45° of the point right ahead.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. bow

    The fore-end of a ship or boat; being the rounding part of a vessel forward, beginning on both sides where the planks arch inwards, and terminating where they close, at the rabbet of the stem or prow, being larboard or starboard from that division. A bold bow is broad and round; a lean bow, narrow and thin.--On the bow. An arc of the horizon (not exceeding 45°) comprehended between some distant object and that point of the compass which is right ahead. Four points on either bow is met by four points before the beam.

  2. bow

    An astronomical instrument formerly used at sea, consisting of only one large graduated arc of 90°, three vanes, and a shank or staff. Also the bow of yew, a weapon of our early fleets.

  3. bow

    She bows to the breeze; when the sails belly out full, and the ship inclines and goes ahead, pitching or bowing over the blue waves.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. bow

    A weapon made of a strip of wood, or other elastic material, with a cord connecting the two ends, by means of which, when drawn back and suffered to return, an arrow is propelled.

Editors Contribution

  1. bow

    A type of tool or piece of equipment created and designed in various colors, materials, mechanisms, sizes and styles used to play an instrument with strings.

    Musicians use a bow to play a violin, cello, double bass and the viola.

    Submitted by anonymous on November 15, 2015  

Suggested Resources

  1. BOW

    What does BOW stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the BOW acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

Etymology and Origins

  1. Bow

    From the ancient stone bridge over the Lea, which was the first ever built in this country on a bow or arch.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. BOW

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Bow is ranked #16909 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Bow surname appeared 1,684 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 1 would have the surname Bow.

    70% or 1,180 total occurrences were White.
    9.9% or 168 total occurrences were Black.
    7.9% or 134 total occurrences were Asian.
    4.7% or 80 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    4.6% or 78 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    2.6% or 44 total occurrences were of two or more races.

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'BOW' in Nouns Frequency: #2449

  2. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'BOW' in Verbs Frequency: #924

How to pronounce BOW?

How to say BOW in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of BOW in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of BOW in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of BOW in a Sentence

  1. Percy Bysshe Shelley:

    Commerce has set the mark of selfishness, the signet of its all-enslaving power, upon a shining ore, and called it gold: before whose image bow the vulgar great, the vainly rich, the miserable proud, the mob of peasants, nobles, priests, and kings, and with blind feelings reverence the power that grinds them to the dust of misery.

  2. Awakening Beaconing:

    He is super excited to see a big bunch of bootlickers going to bow before him and beg undue business favour from him and a lot of prepaid people will be brought to stand on both sides of road to wave and do slogan for him.

  3. Christina Rossetti:

    Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I but when the trees bow down their heads, the wind is passing by.

  4. Mark Harris:

    If you reject Jesus and you go into the great tribulation that we're describing in Revelation 13, the Devil's not going to give you that choice, you're going to be forced to worship the anti-Christ. You're going to be forced to bow down to the image of the Beast. And you know as well as I do in some countries of the world this very morning under Islamic rule, men are given no choice, but God's given you a choice this very morning.

  5. Paulo Coelho:

    A bow has no conscience: it is a prolongation of the hand and desire of the archer. It can serve to kill or to meditate. Therefore, always be clear about your intentions. A bow is flexible, but it has its limits. Stretching it beyond its capacity will break it or exhaust the hand holding it. Therefore, try to be in harmony with your instrument and never ask more than it can give.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for BOW

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • ахыцAbkhaz
  • strykstokAfrikaans
  • ركع, قَوْس, انشوطة, انحنى, انحنى للتحيةArabic
  • смычо́к, лук, смыкBelarusian
  • извия се, поклоня се, панделка, извивам се, лък, извивам, свия, поклон, нос, извия, покланям се, свивам, извивкаBulgarian
  • goareg, gwaregBreton
  • corba, inclinació, doblegar, arc, reverència, corbar, vinclar, proaCatalan, Valencian
  • ӏадChechen
  • luk, poklona, příď, klička, smyčec, ohyb, ohnout, klanětCzech
  • bwa, blaenWelsh
  • bue, buk, bov, stryge, bukke, sløjfe, bøjeDanish
  • streichen, Bogen, Verbeugung, Bug, SchleifeGerman
  • daEwe
  • λυγίζω, δοξάρι, αψίδα, τόξο, πλώρη, φιόγκος, υπόκλιση, πρώρα, κυρτώνω, υποκλίνομαιGreek
  • arĉo, pafarko, arko, pruo, bantoEsperanto
  • arco, reverencia, proa, arquear, doblar, inclinar, lazoSpanish
  • vibuEstonian
  • خمیدن, خم, کرنش, کمان, تعظیم, آرشه, نماز, خم کردن, خماندنPersian
  • kaari, kokka, taivuttaa, kumartua, taipua, kumartaa, jousi, nauharuusuke, kumarrus, keula, rusettiFinnish
  • bogi, bógvurFaroese
  • archet, arc, proue, courber, fléchir, s'incliner, révérence, étraveFrench
  • strykstôk, bûge, bôge, in bûging meitsjen, bûging, boechWestern Frisian
  • bogha, tosachIrish
  • lùb, crom, bogha, ùmhlachd, toiseach, slatag, bogha-saighdeScottish Gaelic
  • croymManx
  • קֶשֶת, כופף, התכופף, קד, קידהHebrew
  • धनुष, कमानHindi
  • vonó, meghajol, masni, íj, hajóorrHungarian
  • աղեղArmenian
  • busurIndonesian
  • pruoIdo
  • svigna, bogi, hneiging, bógur, hneigja sig, slaufa, bugast, bogna, sveigja, strjúka, beygjaIcelandic
  • fiocco, arco, inchino, prua, archetto, curvare, incurvarsi, incurvare, piegarsi, fare la riverenza, piegare, curvarsi, inchinarsi, proraItalian
  • קשתHebrew
  • お辞儀する, 蝶結び, 弓, お辞儀, 辞儀, 辞儀するJapanese
  • მშვილდიGeorgian
  • тағзымKazakh
  • tagiutKalaallisut, Greenlandic
  • ធ្នូKhmer
  • ಬಿಲ್ಲುKannada
  • 활, 절, 이물Korean
  • kevanKurdish
  • arcusLatin
  • ຄັນທະນູLao
  • smičius, lankasLithuanian
  • loksLatvian
  • punake, puneke, tauihu, ihuMāori
  • се свиткува, се клања, панделка, гудало, свиткува, лак, поклон, гуди, се поклонува, свиокMacedonian
  • വില്ല്, കുനിയുകMalayalam
  • нумMongolian
  • panah, busurMalay
  • bue, baug, bogeNorwegian
  • strijkstok, buigen, strik, strijken, boog, buiging, boegDutch
  • boge, baugNorwegian Nynorsk
  • BueNorwegian
  • ałtį́į́Navajo, Navaho
  • arcOccitan
  • gashka'oojigan, naazhaabike'iganaak, mitigwaabOjibwe, Ojibwa
  • କୋଦଣ୍ଡOriya
  • zgięcie, kokarda, łuk, ukłon, dziób, prowadzić smyczek, kłaniać, smyczek, zgiąć, wygiąć, skłonić, zagięciePolish
  • curvar, arquear, arco, reverência, proa, laço, curva, [[tocar]] ([[com]] [[arco]]), curvar-sePortuguese
  • t'iwkaQuechua
  • artg, archRomansh
  • arc, apleca, închinaRomanian
  • лук, поклон, нос, бант, бантик, гнуться, кланяться, смычок, излучина, гнуть, поклонитьсяRussian
  • arcu, alcuSardinian
  • dávgiNorthern Sami
  • zavoj, klanjati, gudalo, luk, pognuti, лук, naklon, pramacSerbo-Croatian
  • luk, prova, sláčikSlovak
  • lokSlovene
  • harkAlbanian
  • bockning, bog, krökning, böjas, båge, kröka, bågna, rundning, buga, krokna, böja, bocka, rosett, stäv, stråke, pilbåge, bugning, förSwedish
  • uta, upindeSwahili
  • வில்Tamil
  • విల్లు, ధనుస్సుTelugu
  • ศร, โบว์, ธนู, โบ, หนังสะติ๊กThai
  • yayTurkish
  • смичо́к, лукUkrainian
  • دھنش, کمانUrdu
  • cung, 弓Vietnamese
  • bobVolapük
  • בויגןYiddish
  • Chinese

Get even more translations for BOW »


Find a translation for the BOW definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"BOW." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 13 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/BOW>.

Discuss these BOW definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for BOW? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    a scar where the umbilical cord was attached
    A fervidness
    B omphalos
    C swag
    D chin-wag

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for BOW: