- the wave generated on either side of a vessel's bow by its forward movement through the water.
- a type of shock wave formed in front of a body moving at supersonic speed.
Origin of bow wave
First recorded in 1875–80
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for bow wave
A moment later we heard the familiar rush of a destroyer's bow-wave, and the ringing of her telegraph as she checked.
The prone gunman slid out of the wide double door, pushing a bow-wave of detergent before him.The Ambulance Made Two Trips
William Fitzgerald Jenkins
In front you see the bow-wave and behind the body a phenomenon k which closely resembles the eddies formed in the wake of a ship.Popular scientific lectures
No general attempt was made to disguise the bow, because the bow-wave was generally visible.Visual Illusions