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[oks-boh] /ˈɒksˌboʊ/
a U -shaped piece of wood placed under and around the neck of an ox with its upper ends in the bar of the yoke.
Physical Geography, Geology.
  1. a bow-shaped bend in a river, or the land embraced by it.
  2. Also called oxbow lake. a bow-shaped lake formed in a former channel of a river.
Origin of oxbow
Middle English word dating back to 1325-75; See origin at ox, bow2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for oxbow
Historical Examples
  • Longfellow, I believe, is not yet at the oxbow, else the winged horse would neigh at him.

    Typee Herman Melville
  • Clement Lindsay had come to oxbow Village with a single purpose.

    The Guardian Angel Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • The drive is a pleasant one, affording a fine view of the oxbow Rapids and islands and the noble river above.

  • oxbow lakes are common, but gorges and waterfalls are absent.

    Geology William J. Miller
  • But far away in oxbow Village other events were in preparation.

    The Guardian Angel Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • The day before the race the small boys made a grand stand at the oxbow for the spectators.

  • It was built on the east bank of the river, a little above the curve which gave the name to oxbow Village.

    The Guardian Angel Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • During the year she spent in the great school, she made but one visit to oxbow Village.

  • The whole party at the oxbow Bend was roused by this time, and men, women and children were looking for the little lost boy.

  • During her stay at the great school, she made but one visit to oxbow Village.

    The Guardian Angel Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
British Dictionary definitions for oxbow


a U-shaped piece of wood fitted under and around the neck of a harnessed ox and attached to the yoke
Also called oxbow lake, cutoff. a small curved lake lying on the flood plain of a river and constituting the remnant of a former meander
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for oxbow

also ox-bow, mid-14c., "wooden collar for an ox," from ox + bow (n.1). Meaning "semicircular bend in a river" is from 1797, American English (New England); meaning "curved lake left after an oxbow meander has been cut off by a change in the river course" is from 1898. The reference is to similarity of shape.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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oxbow in Science
A sharp, U-shaped bend in a river. The bend is so sharp that only a narrow neck of land is left between the two parts of the river.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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