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bow 1 (bou)
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n.
Nautical
1. The front section of a ship or boat.
2. Either of the sides of this front section: the starboard bow.
3. The oar or the person wielding the oar closest to the bow in a racing shell.

[Middle English boue, probably of Low German origin; see bheug- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
bow 2 (bou)
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v. bowed, bow·ing, bows
v.intr.
1. To bend or curve downward; stoop.
2. To incline the body or head or bend the knee in greeting, consent, courtesy, acknowledgment, submission, or veneration.
3. To yield in defeat or out of courtesy; submit. See Synonyms at yield.
v.tr.
1. To bend (the head, knee, or body) to express greeting, consent, courtesy, acknowledgment, submission, or veneration.
2. To convey (greeting, for example) by bending the body.
3. To escort deferentially: bowed us into the restaurant.
4. To cause to acquiesce; submit.
5. To overburden: Grief bowed them down.
n.
An inclination of the head or body, as in greeting, consent, courtesy, acknowledgment, submission, or veneration.
Phrasal Verb:
bow out
To remove oneself; withdraw.
Idiom:
bow and scrape
To behave obsequiously.

[Middle English bowen, from Old English būgan; see bheug- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
bow 3 (bō)
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n.
1. A bent, curved, or arched object.
2. A weapon consisting of a curved, flexible strip of material, especially wood, strung taut from end to end and used to launch arrows.
3.
a. An archer.
b. Archers considered as a group.
4.
a. Music A rod having horsehair drawn tightly between its two raised ends, used in playing instruments of the violin and viol families.
b. A stroke made by this rod.
5. A knot usually having two loops and two ends; a bowknot.
6.
a. A frame for the lenses of a pair of eyeglasses.
b. The part of such a frame passing over the ear.
7. A rainbow.
8. An oxbow.
v. bowed, bow·ing, bows
v.tr.
1. To bend (something) into the shape of a bow.
2. Music To play (a stringed instrument) with a bow.
v.intr.
1. To bend into a curve or bow.
2. Music To play a stringed instrument with a bow.

[Middle English bowe, from Old English boga; see bheug- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
Bow (bō), Clara Known as "the It Girl." 1905-1965.
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American actress whose roles in silent films, such as Mantrap (1926) and It (1927), made her a symbol of the Roaring Twenties.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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