- to bend the knee or body or incline the head, as in reverence, submission, salutation, recognition, or acknowledgment.
- to yield; submit: to bow to the inevitable.
- to bend or curve downward; stoop: the pines bowed low.
- to bend or incline (the knee, body, or head) in worship, submission, respect, civility, agreement, etc.: He bowed his head to the crowd.
- to cause to submit; subdue; crush.
- to cause to stoop or incline: Age had bowed his head.
- to express by a bow: to bow one's thanks.
- to usher (someone) with a bow (usually followed by in, out, etc.): They were bowed in by the footman.
- to cause to bend; make curved or crooked.
- an inclination of the head or body in salutation, assent, thanks, reverence, respect, submission, etc.
- bow out, to resign a position or withdraw from a job, competition, obligation, etc.: He bowed out after two terms as governor.
- bow and scrape, to be excessively polite or deferential.
- make 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.
- take a bow, to step forward or stand up in order to receive recognition, applause, etc.: The conductor had the soloists take a bow.
Origin of bow1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- to lower (one's head) or bend (one's knee or body) as a sign of respect, greeting, assent, or shame
- to bend or cause to bend; incline downwards
- (intr ; usually foll by to or before) to comply or acceptbow to the inevitable
- (tr ; foll by in, out, to etc) to usher (someone) into or out of a place with bows and deferencethe manager bowed us to our car
- (tr; usually foll by down) to bring (a person, nation, etc) to a state of submission
- bow and scrape to behave in an excessively deferential or obsequious way
- a lowering or inclination of the head or body as a mark of respect, greeting, or assent
- take a bow to acknowledge or receive applause or praise
- a weapon for shooting arrows, consisting of an arch of flexible wood, plastic, metal, etc bent by a string (bowstring) fastened at each endSee also crossbow
- 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
- a stroke with such a stick
- a decorative interlacing of ribbon or other fabrics, usually having two loops and two loose ends
- the knot forming such an interlacing; bowknot
- something that is curved, bent, or arched
- (in combination)rainbow; oxbow; saddlebow
- a person who uses a bow and arrow; archer
- a frame of a pair of spectacles
- a sidepiece of the frame of a pair of spectacles that curls round behind the ear
- a metal ring forming the handle of a pair of scissors or of a large old-fashioned key
- architect part of a building curved in the form of a bowSee also bow window
- to form or cause to form a curve or curves
- to make strokes of a bow across (violin strings)
- mainly nautical
- (often plural)the forward end or part of a vessel
- (as modifier)the bow mooring line
- rowing short for bowman 2
- on the port bow nautical within 45 degrees to the port of straight ahead
- on the starboard bow nautical within 45 degrees to the starboard of straight ahead
- a shot across someone's bows informal a warning
- Clara, known as the It Girl . 1905–65, US film actress, noted for her vivacity and sex appeal
Word Origin and History for take a bow
Old English bugan "to bend, to bow down, to bend the body in condescension," also "to turn back" (class II strong verb; past tense beag, past participle bogen), from Proto-Germanic *bugon (cf. Dutch buigen, Middle Low German bugen, Old High German biogan, German biegen, Gothic biugan "to bend," Old Norse boginn "bent"), from *beugen, from PIE root *bheug- (3) "to bend," with derivatives referring to bent, pliable, or curved objects (cf. Sanskrit bhujati "bends, thrusts aside;" Old High German boug, Old English beag "a ring"). The noun in this sense is first recorded 1650s. Related: Bowed; bowing. Bow out "withdraw" is from 1942.
weapon for shooting arrows, Old English boga "archery bow, arch, rainbow," from Proto-Germanic *bugon (cf. Old Norse bogi, Old Frisian boga, Dutch boog, German Bogen "bow;" see bow (v.)). The sense of "a looped knot" is from 1540s. The musician's bow (1570s) formerly was curved like the archer's. Bowlegged is attested from 1550s.
"front of a ship," mid-14c., from Old Norse bogr or Middle Dutch boech "bow of a ship," literally "shoulder (of an animal)," the connecting notion being "the shoulders of the ship." See bough.
Idioms and Phrases with take a bow
take a bow
Acknowledge praise or applause, as in The conductor asked the composer to take a bow. This idiom uses bow in the sense of “inclining the body or head as a token of salutation.” [c. 1800]