- a U-shaped piece of wood placed under and around the neck of an ox with its upper ends in the bar of the yoke.
- Physical Geography, Geology.
- 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
- a U-shaped piece of wood fitted under and around the neck of a harnessed ox and attached to the yoke
- Also called: oxbow lake, cutoff a small curved lake lying on the flood plain of a river and constituting the remnant of a former meander
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.
- A sharp, U-shaped bend in a river. The bend is so sharp that only a narrow neck of land is left between the two parts of the river.