a metal or plastic piece at the end of an arrow, having a notch for the bowstring.
a notch or groove at the end of an arrow into which the bowstring fits.
a notch or groove at each end of a bow, to hold the bowstring in place.
Nautical. throat(def 6a).

verb (used with object)

to furnish with a nock.
to adjust (the arrow) to the bowstring, in readiness to shoot.

Origin of nock

1325–75; Middle English nok(ke) (noun); akin to Dutch nok, Low German nok(ke) tip Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nock

Historical Examples of nock

  • In each of the tips of horn is a notch for the string called "the nock."

    How to Fence

    Aaron A. Warford

  • Scarcely had Johnny stepped back to nock an arrow, than the other saw him.

    The Arrow of Fire

    Roy J. Snell

  • This is the application of the nock of the arrow to its proper place on the string.

  • In each of the tips of the horns is a notch for the string, called the nock.

    The Art of Entertaining

    M. E. W. Sherwood

  • He thought seriously for several moments, then telepathed Nock.

    Man of Many Minds

    E. Everett Evans

British Dictionary definitions for nock



a notch on an arrow that fits on the bowstring
either of the grooves at each end of a bow that hold the bowstring

verb (tr)

to fit (an arrow) on a bowstring
to put a groove or notch in (a bow or arrow)

Word Origin for nock

C14: related to Swedish nock tip
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

Word Origin and History for nock

"notch on a bow," late 14c., of uncertain origin, probably from a Scandinavian source (cf. Swedish nock "notch"), but cf. also Low German nokk, Dutch nok "tip of a sail." Perhaps connected to nook.


"fit (an arrow) to a bowstring," 1510s, from nock (n.). Related: Nocked; nocking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper