bow wave

[ bou ]
/ baʊ /


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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for bow wave

  • 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.

  • No general attempt was made to disguise the bow, because the bow-wave was generally visible.

    Visual Illusions|Matthew Luckiesh
  • 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