In music, a bow is moved across some part of a musical instrument, causing vibration which the instrument emits as sound. The vast majority of bows are used with string instruments, although some bows are used with musical saws and other bowed idiophones.

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  1. A weapon made of a curved piece of wood or other flexible material whose ends are connected by a string, used for shooting arrows.
  2. A curved bend in a rod or planar surface, or in a linear formation such as a river (see oxbow).
  3. A rod with horsehair (or an artificial substitute) stretched between the ends, used for playing various stringed musical instruments.
  4. A stringed instrument, similar to the item described above.
  5. A type of knot with two loops, used to tie together two cords such as shoelaces or apron strings, and frequently used as decoration, such as in gift-wrapping.
  6. Anything bent or curved, such as a rainbow.
  7. The U-shaped piece which goes around the neck of an ox and fastens it to the yoke.
  8. Any instrument consisting of an elastic rod, with ends connected by a string, employed for giving reciprocating motion to a drill, or for preparing and arranging hair, fur, etc., used by hatters.
  9. A crude sort of quadrant formerly used for taking the sun's altitude at sea.
  10. Two pieces of wood which form the arched forward part of a saddletree.

Noun (etymology 2)

  1. A gesture, usually showing respect, made by inclining the head or bending forward at the waist.
    He bowed politely as he entered the room.
  2. A debut
    The new product will make its bow on the world market this summer.

Noun (etymology 3)

  1. The front of a boat or ship.


  1. To play music on (a stringed instrument) using a bow.
    The musician bowed his violin expertly.
  2. To become bent or curved.
    The shelf bowed under the weight of the books.
  3. To make something bend or curve.
  4. To exercise powerful or controlling influence over; to bend, figuratively; to turn; to incline.
  5. To premiere.
    Cronenberg’s "Cosmopolis" bows in Cannes this week.

Verb (etymology 2)

  1. To bend oneself as a gesture of respect or deference.
  2. To debut.
  3. To defer (to something).

The above text is a snippet from Wiktionary: bow
and as such is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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