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The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the noun bow:


Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb bow:


Bow is sometimes a misspelling of do.

The word bow is considered to be an easy one, according to the Dale-Chall word list, which includes 3000 words that all fourth-grade American students should know and understand.

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Definition of the noun bow

What does bow mean as a name of something?

noun - plural: bows

  1. a knot with two loops and loose ends; used to tie shoelaces
    • lexical domain: Artifacts - nouns denoting man-made objects
    • synonym of bow: bowknot
    • more generic word: knot = any of various fastenings formed by looping and tying a rope (or cord) upon itself or to another rope or to another object
  2. a slightly curved piece of resilient wood with taut horsehair strands; used in playing certain stringed instruments
    • lexical domain: Artifacts - nouns denoting man-made objects
    • more generic word: stick = an implement consisting of a length of wood
    • more specific terms: fiddlestick / violin bow = a bow used in playing the violin
  3. front part of a vessel or aircraft
    • example: he pointed the bow of the boat toward the finish line
    • lexical domain: Artifacts - nouns denoting man-made objects
    • synonyms of bow: fore / prow / stem
    • more generic word: front = the side that is seen or that goes first
    • part of: vessel / watercraft = a craft designed for water transportation
  4. a weapon for shooting arrows, composed of a curved piece of resilient wood with a taut cord to propel the arrow
    • lexical domain: Artifacts - nouns denoting man-made objects
    • more generic terms: arm / weapon / weapon system = any instrument or instrumentality used in fighting or hunting
    • more specific terms:
      • crossbow = a bow fixed transversely on a wooden stock grooved to direct the arrow
      • Cupid's bow = a curved bow with reversed curve ends
      • handbow = a bow drawn by hand as distinguished from a crossbow
      • longbow = a powerful wooden bow drawn by hand; usually 5-6 feet long
    • part of: bow and arrow = a weapon consisting of arrows and the bow to shoot them
    • parts:
      • bowstring = the string of an archer's bow
      • limb = either of the two halves of a bow from handle to tip
  5. something curved in shape
    • lexical domain: Shapes - nouns denoting two and three dimensional shapes
    • synonym of bow: arc
    • more generic terms: curve / curved shape = the trace of a point whose direction of motion changes
    • more specific word: rainbow = an arc of colored light in the sky caused by refraction of the sun's rays by rain
  6. bending the head or body or knee as a sign of reverence or submission or shame or greeting
    • lexical domain: Communicative Processes - nouns denoting communicative processes and contents
    • synonyms of bow: bowing / obeisance
    • more generic words: reverence = an act showing respect; gesture / motion = the use of movements (especially of the hands) to communicate familiar or prearranged signals
    • more specific words:
      • genuflection / genuflexion = the act of bending the knees in worship or reverence
      • kowtow / kotow = a former Chinese custom of touching the ground with the forehead as a sign of respect or submission
      • scraping / scrape = a deep bow with the foot drawn backwards
      • salaam = a deep bow
  7. an appearance by actors or performers at the end of the concert or play in order to acknowledge the applause of the audience
  8. a decorative interlacing of ribbons
  9. a stroke with a curved piece of wood with taut horsehair strands that is used in playing stringed instruments
    • lexical domain: Acts - nouns denoting acts or actions
    • more generic word: stroke = a single complete movement
    • more specific words:
      • down-bow = a downward stroke from the heel to the tip of the bow
      • up-bow = an upward stroke from the tip to the heel of the bow

Alternative definition of the noun bow


  1. A weapon made of a curved piece of wood or other flexible material whose ends are connected by a string, used for shooting arrows.
  2. A curved bend in a rod or planar surface, or in a linear formation such as a river (see oxbow).
  3. A rod with horsehair (or an artificial substitute) stretched between the ends, used for playing various stringed musical instruments.
  4. A stringed instrument, similar to the item described above.
  5. A type of knot with two loops, used to tie together two cords such as shoelaces or apron strings, and frequently used as decoration, such as in gift-wrapping.
  6. A gesture, usually showing respect, made by bending forward at the waist.
  7. A debut
  8. [nautical] The front of a boat or ship.

Specialised definition of the noun bow

Glossary of sports / archery

sport equipment used in archery (Herbert Haag & Gerald Haag. 2003. Dictionary. Sport, Physical Education, Sport Science. Kiel, Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaften)

Glossary of sports / canoeing

the front end of a canoe

Glossary of sports / figure skating

a compulsory figure, a circle, half circle or figure eight skated on the standing leg. (Herbert Haag & Gerald Haag. 2003. Dictionary. Sport, Physical Education, Sport Science. Kiel, Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaften)

Glossary of sports / gymnastics

exercise on the balance beam and on the floor, where the (arched) body is supported by hands and feet. In the slow hand-spring the arch is a stationary element. (Herbert Haag & Gerald Haag. 2003. Dictionary. Sport, Physical Education, Sport Science. Kiel, Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaften)

Glossary of sports / roller skating

a compulsory figure, a circle, half circle or figure eight skated on the standing leg. (Herbert Haag & Gerald Haag. 2003. Dictionary. Sport, Physical Education, Sport Science. Kiel, Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaften)

Glossary of sports / rowing

the front end of the boat (2005. Chambers Sports Factfinder. Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd)

the rower who sits in the bow (2005. Chambers Sports Factfinder. Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd)

the forward part of a boat

Glossary of sports / sailing

the foremost, pointed part of a boat (Herbert Haag & Gerald Haag. 2003. Dictionary. Sport, Physical Education, Sport Science. Kiel, Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaften)

the forepart of a boat (2005. Chambers Sports Factfinder. Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd)

one side of the forepart of the boat (the starboard and port bows meet at the stem) (2005. Chambers Sports Factfinder. Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd)

Definition of the verb bow

What does bow mean as a doing word?

Bow is one of the top 1000 most common verbs in the English language.

verb - inflections: bowed | bowing | bows

  1. bend one's knee or body, or lower one's head
  2. yield to another's wish or opinion
  3. bend the head or the upper part of the body in a gesture of respect or greeting
    • example: He bowed before the King
    • syntax: the same syntax as for the sense 1
    • lexical domain: Motions - verbs of walking, flying, swimming
    • more generic term: change posture = undergo a change in bodily posture
    • more specific terms:
      • take a bow = acknowledge applause by inclining the head, as of an artist after a performance
      • curtsey / curtsy = bend the knees in a gesture of respectful greeting
      • genuflect / kowtow / scrape = bend the knees and bow in a servile manner
      • genuflect = bend the knees and bow in church or before a religious superior or image
  4. bend one's back forward from the waist on down
    • example: She bowed before the Queen
    • syntax: the same syntax as for the sense 1
    • lexical domain: Motions - verbs of walking, flying, swimming
    • synonyms of bow: bend / crouch / stoop
    • more generic words: bend / flex = form a curve
    • more specific words:
    • entailment: change posture = undergo a change in bodily posture
  5. play on a stringed instrument with a bow
    • domain: music
    • lexical domain: Creation - verbs of sewing, baking, painting, performing
    • more generic word: play = play on an instrument

Alternative definition of the verb bow


  1. To play music on (a stringed instrument) using a bow.
  2. [intransitive] To become bent or curved.
  3. [transitive] To make something bend or curve.
  4. [intransitive] To bend oneself as a gesture of respect or deference.
  5. [transitive, and, intransitive] To debut.
  6. [intransitive] To defer (to something).


  1. Bow is a district in East London, England, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It is built-up and mostly residential, and 4.6 miles east of Charing Cross.
    • also known as Bow, London
    • part of London
  2. Bow is a town in Merrimack County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 7,519 at the 2010 census.
  3. Bow is an unincorporated community in Skagit County, Washington. It is located near the towns of Bay View, Edison, Burlington, and Mount Vernon. Bow is included in the Mount Vernon-Anacortes, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area. Bow overlooks Samish Bay.
  4. Bow is a village and civil parish in the Mid Devon district of Devon, England, about 8 miles west of Crediton. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 1,093. There is an adjoining hamlet of Nymet Tracey which shares a church with Bow and much common history.
  5. Bow is an unincorporated community in Cumberland County, Kentucky, United States. It lies along Route 90 southeast of the city of Burkesville, the county seat of Cumberland County. Its elevation is 607 feet.
  6. Bow a.k.a. Bartow Municipal Airport is a public airport four miles northeast of Bartow, in Polk County, Florida. It is owned by the Bartow Municipal Airport Development Authority.

There are other places with in their name, like Big Bow, Bow Mar, Bow Creek, Bow Falls, Bow Range, Bow River, Bow Church, Bow Island, Bow Street, Bow Valley, Broken Bow, Fiddle Bow, Little Bow, Medicine Bow, Bow Brickhill, Bromley-by-Bow, Bow Valley Mills, Silver Bow Basin, Silver Bow County.


Bow is a fictional character in the Filmation animated series She-Ra: Princess of Power. Together with his steed, Arrow, he is one of the members of the Great Rebellion against the Evil Horde. He was one of the characters that is most frequently seen in the series. He was first seen in Episode 1, disguised in a bar where he met Prince Adam, who was then sent to a mission to find the owner of the "Sword of Protection".


  1. "Bow" is a musical EP of AND.
    • released on
  2. "Bow" is a musical album of Focused.


"Bow" is a book by Penelope Austin.


  1. The bow is the forward part of the hull of a ship or boat, the point that is usually most forward when the vessel is underway. Both of the adjectives fore and forward mean towards the bow. The other end of the boat is the stern.
  2. Bow: In music, a bow is moved across some part of a musical instrument, causing vibration which the instrument emits as sound. The vast majority of bows are used with string instruments, although some bows are used with musical saws and other bowed idiophones.
  3. Bow is a term which has multiple meanings within the sport of rowing. It is used to refer to a rower seated in a particular position and to one side of the boat.
  4. Bow: Welcome to the Bow guide at TV Tome. The WB Network has greenlighted "Bow," a half-hour pilot from Touchstone TV to star rapper-actor Bow Wow as himself. The show will follow the young star as he becomes an adult and starts to take control of his affairs. Erica Montolfo, Dan Cross and David Hoge, who penned the script, are exec producing with Bow Wow's managers Teresa Caldwell and Michael Mauldin. The pilot stems from Bow Wow's talent deal with the WB. Bow Wow toplined a comedy pilot for the WB, which was in contention for fall 2003.
  5. Bow a.k.a. Rema Language: Rema, also known as Bothar, is a nearly extinct Papuan language of New Guinea.
    • also known as Bothar

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Bow

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewA Book of the Beginnings (2007)

by Gerald Massey

The bow is an ideograph, and represents the circle and a cycle of time.

Google previewViolin Mastery Talks with Master Violinists and Teachers (2012)

by Frederick Herman Martens

"The bow is the key to this mastery in expression, in interpretation: in a lesser degree the left hand. The average pupil does not realize this but believes that mere finger facility is the whole gist of technic. Yet the richest color, the most delicate ...

Google previewMinoan Kingship and the Solar Goddess (2010)

A Near Eastern Koine by Nanno Marinatos

the bow is the central visual motif of the scene. It is held fast by two figures , a male and a...

Google previewA Blake Dictionary (2013)

The Ideas and Symbols of William Blake by S. Foster Damon

The BOW is a customary weapon for all of Blake's characters.

Google previewNew Monthly Magazine (1816)

The bow is the principal ancient weapon of the Turks. The red standard is the principal banner of the Turks when they assemble for war. The jugh, or a pole with a horse-tail oastened to it, is a distinguished mark of honour among the Turks.

Google previewThe New Weapons of the World Encyclopedia (2007)

An International Encyclopedia from 5000 B.C. to the 21st Century by Diagram Group

The traditional composite bow, seen at its best in Turkey, was made from horn and sinew applied to a core of wood. Modern composite bows for target shooting use materials such as glass - reinforced plastic and carbon fiber, but they do not ...

Google previewDictionary of Images and Symbols in Counselling (1998)

by William Stewart

oo Bow and Arrow The bow was the principal weapon of the Egyptians, ...

Google previewThe New Universal English Dictionary ... To which is added, a dictionary of cant words ... The fourth edition, carefully corrected by Mr. Buchanan, etc (1760)

by Nathan BAILEY

* BOW (boga of bygan, Sex. to bend) an r. . instrument for shootmg arrows. BOW ...

Google previewOntology and the Lexicon (2010)

A Natural Language Processing Perspective by Chu-ren Huang

BOW. (Bilingual. Ontological. WordNet):. integration. of. bilingual. WordNet. and. SUMO. Chu-Ren Huang, Ru-Yng Chang, and Hsiang-bin Lee 11.1 Background and motivation The ontolex interface is anchored on two essential elements of ...

Google previewEncyclopaedia Perthensis, Or, Universal Dictionary of the Arts, Sciences, Literature, Etc. : Intended to Supersede the Use of Other Books of Reference (1816)

Bow, or DR ill-Bow, among artificers, an instrument so called from its figure; used by goldsmiths, gunsmit s, locksmiths, watchmakers, &c. for making a drill go. Among turners it is the name of a pole fixed to the ceiling, to which they fasten the ...

Google previewThe British Encyclopedia, Or Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (1809)

Comprising an Accurate and Popular View of the Present Improved State of Human Knowledge : Illustrated with Upwards of 150 Elegant Engravings. A - B. 1 by William Nicholson

long bow was formerly in great vogue in England, and many laws were made to encourage the use of it. The parliament under Henry VIII. complaining of the disuse of long bows, heretofore the safeguard and defence of this kingdom, and ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Bow

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Photos about Bow

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Small photo of Green bow - isolated on white backgroundSmall photo of Decorational red ribbon gift bow isolated over the white background, set collection of two diffirent foreshorteningsSmall photo of Old bow isolatedSmall photo of gold shiny gift bow isolated object white background with saved pathSmall photo of red bowSmall photo of Silk red bow isolatedSmall photo of Pink bow on a wide ribbon from different sides to create a gift decoration isolated on white More...

Videos about Bow

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View more videos about Up bow, Bow saw, Bow tie, Bow Wow, Bow Down, Bow drill, Bow shock, Brush Bow, Dicky Bow, Shaft bow, bow chaser, Bow window, Take a Bow, Musical bow, Bow thruster, Bow and arrow, and Hurricane Bow.

See also the pronunciation examples of Bow!

Sign language

Bow in Baby Sign Language, ASL

Quotes about Bow

Testimony is like an arrow shot from a long-bow; its force depends on the strength of the hand that draws it. But argument is like an arrow from a cross-bow, which has equal force if drawn by a child or a man. (Charles Boyle)
more quotes about bow...

Scrabble value of B3O1W4

The value of this 3-letter word is 8 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Anagrams of BOW

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Other anagrams

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