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
The prevailing color is pink; the headgear: red bows and ears; the guests: super giddy.Explosion of Cute: Inside the Superfan Mania of Hello Kitty Con 2014 | Sarah Bay Williams | November 2, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Instead of savoring those final bows, he says, "I'm tired of opening letters that say, 'Go to hell, Palmer.'"
At this point, McAvoy bows out of the conversation gracefully.Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy on 'Eleanor Rigby,' First Heartbreak, and Robin Williams | Marlow Stern | September 2, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Her father gazes back at her happily, tips his hat, and bows with a flourish.Knocking on Heaven's Door: True Stories of Unexplained, Uncanny Experiences at the Hour of Death | Patricia Pearson | August 11, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Jatu bows her head awkwardly to ensure her scarf covers the scarred side of her face.
The gentleman bows very ceremoniously, and Monsieur St. Ange walks slowly out, and takes a glass of curaoa in the outer room.Checkmate | Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
With arrows and with bows they shall go in thither: for briers and thorns shall be in all the land.The Bible, Douay-Rheims Version | Various
In short, he is the creature of this 'Joss'—this home-made deity—to which he bows down and worships.Tobacco; Its History, Varieties, Culture, Manufacture and Commerce | E. R. Billings.
Thereupon a dispute arose, and the Savages, seizing their bows and arrows, wanted to take away the 151 corpse.
As between old and new bows, we would observe that in general modern bows are nearly us useless as new violins.Violins and Violin Makers | Joseph Pearce
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.