American English

Definition of bow verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they bow
    he / she / it bows
    past simple bowed
    -ing form bowing
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  1. 1[intransitive] to move your head or the top half of your body forward and downward as a sign of respect or to say hello, or goodbye bow (to/before somebody/something) He bowed low to the assembled crowd. bow down (to/before somebody/something) The people all bowed down before the altar.
  2. 2[transitive] bow your head to move your head forward and downward She bowed her head in shame. They stood in silence with their heads bowed.
  3. 3[intransitive, transitive] to bend or make something bend (+ adv./prep) The pines bowed in the wind. bow something (+ adv./prep) Their backs were bowed under the weight of their packs.
  4. Idioms
    bow and scrape (disapproving)
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    to be too polite to an important person in order to gain their approval She was starting to get tired of all their bowing and scraping.
    Phrasal Verbsbow down to somebody/somethingbow out (of something)bow to something
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: bow