- a bow-shaped bend in a river, or the land embraced by it.
- Also called oxbow lake.a bow-shaped lake formed in a former channel of a river.
Origin of oxbow
also ox-bow, mid-14c., "wooden collar for an ox," from ox + bow (n.1). Meaning "semicircular bend in a river" is from 1797, American English (New England); meaning "curved lake left after an oxbow meander has been cut off by a change in the river course" is from 1898. The reference is to similarity of shape.