Idioms

Origin of bow

1
before 900; Middle English bowen (v.), Old English būgan; cognate with Dutch buigen; akin to German biegen, Gothic biugan, Old Norse buga, etc.

Related forms

bowed·ness, nounbow·ing·ly, adverb

Can be confused

bough bow

Synonym study

1. See bend1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for take a bow (1 of 4)

bow

1
/ (baʊ) /

verb

noun

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

Word Origin for bow

Old English būgan, related to Old Norse bjūgr bent, Old High German biogan to bend, Dutch buigen

British Dictionary definitions for take a bow (2 of 4)

bow

2
/ (bəʊ) /

noun

verb

to form or cause to form a curve or curves
to make strokes of a bow across (violin strings)

Word Origin for bow

Old English boga arch, bow; related to Old Norse bogi a bow, Old High German bogo, Old Irish bocc, and bow 1

British Dictionary definitions for take a bow (3 of 4)

bow

3
/ (baʊ) /

noun

mainly nautical
  1. (often plural) the forward end or part of a vessel
  2. (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

Word Origin for bow

C15: probably from Low German boog; related to Dutch boeg, Danish bov ship's bow, shoulder; see bough

British Dictionary definitions for take a bow (4 of 4)

Bow

/ (bəʊ) /

noun

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

Idioms and Phrases with take a bow (1 of 2)

take a bow


Acknowledge praise or applause, as in The conductor asked the composer to take a bow. This idiom uses bow in the sense of “inclining the body or head as a token of salutation.” [c. 1800]

Idioms and Phrases with take a bow (2 of 2)

bow


In addition to the idioms beginning with bow

  • bow and scrape
  • bowl of cherries, life is just a
  • bowl over
  • bow out

also see:

  • 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.