Word of the Day: Bow, Beau and Bough


bow / ˈbau̇


verb (1)


  1. to bend at the waist or head as a sign of respect

They bow to you when borrowing, you bow to them when collecting.

Russian Proverb


  1. to bend at the waist in acknowledgment of applause

Every now and then one stands up and orates at length to the unfortunate crowd, after which he bows to their scattered applause.

from ‘When the Sea is Rising Red’ by Cat Hellisen, 1977-


  1. to acknowledge or suffer defeat

The more the panic grows, the more uplifting the image of a man who refuses to bow to the terror.

Ernst Junger, 1895-1998


  1. to exert force on something so as to cause to bend

The thunder burst in loud claps; the wind bowed the trees far down toward the earth, already wet with the rain.

from ‘Dallas-A Sketch’ by Olive McHenry, ?-


  1. to usher in or out through a tilt of the head or waist

You always have to know when to bow out. You bow out while you are on top.

L.A. Reid, 1956-


  1. to curve due to external pressure

[…] when the trees bow down their heads, the wind is passing by.

from ‘Who Has Seen the Wind?’ by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894


noun (1)


  1. a bending of the body to show respect or acknowledgment

In a stage play, you kill the leads and they come out for a bow – in a movie, they don’t come out for a bow, they’re dead.

Frank Oz, 1944-


noun (2)


  1. the frontmost part of a ship

If the bow is sinking, the stern follows.

Filipino Proverb




noun (3)


  1. a weapon which has a curved springy part with a cord which propels an arrow

You will soon break the bow if you keep it always stretched.

Norman Vincent Peale, 1898-1993


  1. a knot made by doubling string into multiple loops

Nobody’s life is wrapped up neatly in a bow.

Zoe Lister-Jones, 1982-


  1. in music, a wooden or fiberglass rod strung with horsehair or some other stringy material, used to play a violin or other string instrument

Remember always that the composer’s pen is still mightier than the bow of the violinist; in you lie all the possibilities of the creation of beauty.

John Philip Sousa, 1854-1932


verb (2)


  1. to curve

Foundation walls bow for a variety of reasons, including water pressure, root penetration and poor construction.



  1. to play a string instrument with the tool designed for such use

If a feller can’t bow, he’ll never make a fiddler.

Tommy Jarrell, 1901-1985





beau / bō




  1. a male admirer; boyfriend

Some women feel the best cure for a broken heart is a new beau.

Gene Tierney, 1920-1991





bough / bau̇




  1. the limb of a tree; branch

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough[…]

A.E. Housman, 1859-1936