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 incline (the knee, body, or head) in worship, submission, respect, civility, agreement, etc.: He bowed his head to the crowd.
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.
Idioms about bow
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.
- bowedness, noun
- bow·ing·ly, adverb
- bough, bow
Other definitions for bow (2 of 4)
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.
an instrument resembling this, used for various purposes, as rotating a drill or spindle, or loosening entangled or matted fibers.
a bend or curve.
Also 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.
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.
a 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.
a single movement of such a device over the strings of a violin, viol, or the like.
something curved or arc-shaped.
an archer; bowman: He is the best bow in the county.
a U-shaped piece for placing under an animal's neck to hold a yoke.
Building Trades. a flexible rod used for laying out large curves.
the part of a key grasped by the fingers.
the loop on the stem of a watch by which the watch is attached to a chain or the like.
curved outward at the center; bent: bow legs.
to bend into the form of a bow; curve.
Music. to perform by means of a bow upon a stringed instrument.
Textiles Obsolete. to loosen by passing a vibrating bow among entangled fibers.
- bowedness, noun
- bowless, adjective
- bowlike, adjective
- bode, bowed
Other definitions for bow (3 of 4)
the forward end of a vessel or airship.
either side of this forward end, especially with reference to the direction of a distant object: a mooring two points off the port bow.
bows, Nautical. the exterior of the forward end of a vessel, especially one in which the hull slopes back on both sides of the stem.
of or relating to the bow of a ship.
Other definitions for Bow (4 of 4)
Clara, 1905–65, U.S. film actress: known as the “It Girl.”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use bow in a sentence
Creepy thing to wrap up in festive paper and a bow and give to a newborn baby, yeah?
Well, the only way Dexter could have been tied up in a bow was if the last episode would have been the last episode of Season 4.Michael C. Hall on Going Drag for ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ and Exorcising ‘Dexter’ | Marlow Stern | December 4, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The way it was executed was maybe not satisfying to people, and it was in no way tied up in a bow.Michael C. Hall on Going Drag for ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ and Exorcising ‘Dexter’ | Marlow Stern | December 4, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
An older bro wore a red bow tie and a yarmulke emblazoned with the “TEAM MITCH” logo as he stared down at his smartphone intently.
Bop had produced self-conscious artists who refused to bow to conventional assumptions of what was entertaining.
He would fear what he did not understand, and he would bow down and pay homage to what he feared.God and my Neighbour | Robert Blatchford
And with another bow the man from Paris drew himself erect, turned on his heel, and went jingling and creaking from the room.St. Martin's Summer | Rafael Sabatini
To the invitation to precede him she readily responded, and, with a bow to the Seneschal, she began to walk across the apartment.St. Martin's Summer | Rafael Sabatini
And thou didst bow thyself to women: and by thy body thou wast brought under subjection.The Bible, Douay-Rheims Version | Various
A primitive savage makes a bow and arrow in a day: it takes him a fortnight to make a bark canoe.The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice | Stephen Leacock
British Dictionary definitions for bow (1 of 4)
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 accept: bow to the inevitable
(tr ; foll 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
(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
- See also bow out
British Dictionary definitions for bow (2 of 4)
a weapon for shooting arrows, consisting of an arch of flexible wood, plastic, metal, etc bent by a string (bowstring) fastened at each end: See 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 bow: See also bow window
to form or cause to form a curve or curves
to make strokes of a bow across (violin strings)
British Dictionary definitions for bow (3 of 4)
(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
British Dictionary definitions for Bow (4 of 4)
Clara, known as the It Girl . 1905–65, US film actress, noted for her vivacity and sex appeal
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with bow
In addition to the idioms beginning with bow
- bow and scrape
- bowl of cherries, life is just a
- bowl over
- bow out
- take a bow
- two strings to one's bow
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.