UK:*UK and possibly other pronunciationsUK and possibly other pronunciations'bow': /ˈbəʊ/; 'Bow': /bəʊ/

US:USA pronuncation: IPAUSA pronuncation: IPA/baʊ/

US:USA pronunciation: respellingUSA pronunciation: respelling'bow': (bou for 1,3; bō for 2); 'Bow': (bō)

WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2020
bow1 /baʊ/USA pronunciation   v. 
  1. to bend the knee or body, or to incline the head, so as to show respect or greeting: [no object][bowing as the king and queen walked in.][+ down]bowed down almost to the ground.[+ object]bowed his head in prayer.
  2. to bend or curve downward: [no object]The pines bowed low in the storm.[+ object]The heavy snow bowed the trees down low.
  3. to (cause to) give in or yield;
    to (cause to) submit: [+ to + object]You'll have to bow to the inevitable.[+ object;  usually: be + bowed]They were bloody but not bowed (= not defeated completely).
  4. bow out, [no object] to withdraw by choice;
    retire:He didn't want to campaign anymore, so he decided to bow out.

n. [countable]
  1. a downward movement of the head or body in greeting, thanks, etc.:She made a short bow after the play.
  1. Idiomsbow and scrape, [no object] to be overly polite:He was always bowing and scraping to the boss.
  2. Idioms, Show Businesstake a bow, to step forward or stand up to receive recognition, applause, etc.:Stand up, Helen, and take a bow.

bow2 /boʊ/USA pronunciation   n. 
  1. a strong, flexible strip of wood or other material, bent by a string stretched between its ends and used for shooting arrows:hunting with a bow and arrow.
  2. Sporta bend or curve:She tied the ribbon in a bow.
  3. Naval Termsa readily loosened knot for joining the ends of a ribbon or string, having two loops:a pretty bright bow in her hair.
  4. Music and Dancea flexible rod having horsehairs that stretch from end to end, used for playing a musical instrument like a violin:The musicians all raised their bows.

adj. [before a noun]
  1. curved outward at the center;
    bent:bow legs.
  2. See bowlegged.

  1. Music and Danceto perform with a bow on a stringed instrument: [no object]She hadn't learned to bow smoothly yet.[+ object]She tried to bow her fiddle but always missed.

bow3 /baʊ/USA pronunciation   n. [countable]
  1. Nautical, Naval Termsthe front or forward end of a ship or airplane:After the torpedo hit, the bow was crushed in.

adj. [usually: before a noun]
  1. Nautical, Naval Termsof or relating to the bow of a ship:bow riggings.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
bow1  (bou),USA pronunciation 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;
  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. Idiomsbow and scrape, to be excessively polite or deferential.
  8. bow out, 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. Idiomsmake 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.
  3. take a bow, to step forward or stand up in order to receive recognition, applause, etc.:The conductor had the soloists take a bow.
bowedness, n. 
bowing•ly, adv. 
  • bef. 900; Middle English bowen (verb, verbal), Old English būgan; cognate with Dutch buigen; akin to German biegen, Gothic biugan, Old Norse buga, etc.
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged See  bend 1.
    • 2.See corresponding entry in Unabridged surrender, accede, defer, acquiesce, comply, capitulate.

bow2  (bō),USA pronunciation 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. Buildingan instrument resembling this, used for various purposes, as rotating a drill or spindle, or loosening entangled or matted fibers.
  3. Sporta bend or curve.
  4. Sport, Naval TermsAlso 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.
  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. Music and Dancea 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. Music and Dancea single movement of such a device over the strings of a violin, viol, or the like.
  8. ClothingSee  bow tie. 
  9. something curved or arc-shaped.
  10. a saddlebow.
  11. an archer;
    bowman:He is the best bow in the county.
  12. Ophthalmologytemple2 (def. 3).
  13. aU-shaped piece for placing under an animal's neck to hold a yoke.
  14. Buildinga flexible rod used for laying out large curves.
  15. the part of a key grasped by the fingers.
  16. Timethe 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;
  2. Music and Danceto perform by means of a bow upon a stringed instrument.
  3. Textilesto loosen by passing a vibrating bow among entangled fibers.
bowedness, n. 
bowless, adj. 
bowlike′, adj. 
  • bef. 1000; Middle English bowe (noun, nominal), Old English boga; cognate with Dutch boog, German Bogen, Old Norse bogi; akin to bow1

bow3  (bou),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. Aeronautics[Naut., Aeron.]
    • , Nautical, Naval Termsthe forward end of a vessel or airship.
    • , Nautical, Naval Termseither side of this forward end, esp. with reference to the direction of a distant object:a mooring two points off the port bow.
  2. Nautical, Naval Termsbows, the exterior of the forward end of a vessel, esp. one in which the hull slopes back on both sides of the stem.
  3. Naval Termsthe foremost oar in rowing a boat.
  4. Nautical, Naval TermsAlso called  bowman, bow oar. the person who pulls that oar.
  5. Nautical, Naval Termsbows on, (of a ship) with the bow foremost:The vessel approached us bows on.
  6. Nautical, Naval Termsbows under, (of a ship) shipping water at the bow:The ship was bows under during most of the storm.
  7. Nautical, Naval Termson the bow, within 45° to the heading of the vessel.

  1. Nautical, Naval Termsof or pertaining to the bow of a ship.
  • Low German boog (noun, nominal) or Dutch boeg or Danish bov; see bough
  • 1620–30

Bow  (bō),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. BiographicalClara, 1905–65, U.S. film actress: known as the "It Girl.''

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
bow /baʊ/ vb
  1. to lower (one's head) or bend (one's knee or body) as a sign of respect, greeting, assent, or shame
  2. to bend or cause to bend; incline downwards
  3. (intr; usually followed by to or before) to comply or accept: bow to the inevitable
  4. (tr; followed 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
  5. (tr; usually followed by down) to bring (a person, nation, etc) to a state of submission
  6. bow and scrapeto behave in an excessively deferential or obsequious way
  1. a lowering or inclination of the head or body as a mark of respect, greeting, or assent
  2. take a bowto acknowledge or receive applause or praise

See also bow outEtymology: Old English būgan, related to Old Norse bjūgr bent, Old High German biogan to bend, Dutch buigen
bow /bəʊ/ n
  1. a weapon for shooting arrows, consisting of an arch of flexible wood, plastic, metal, etc bent by a string (bowstring) fastened at each end
  2. 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
  3. a stroke with such a stick
  4. a decorative interlacing of ribbon or other fabrics, usually having two loops and two loose ends
  5. the knot forming such an interlacing; bowknot
  6. something that is curved, bent, or arched
  1. to form or cause to form a curve or curves
  2. to make strokes of a bow across (violin strings)
Etymology: Old English boga arch, bow; related to Old Norse bogi a bow, Old High German bogo, Old Irish bocc, and bow1
bow /baʊ/ n
  1. chiefly (often plural) the forward end or part of a vessel
  2. (as modifier): the bow mooring line
Etymology: 15th Century: probably from Low German boog; related to Dutch boeg, Danish bov ship's bow, shoulder; see bough
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
Bow /bəʊ/ n
  1. Clara, known as the It Girl. 1905–65, US film actress, noted for her vivacity and sex appeal
'bow' also found in these entries:

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