- 1[intransitive] to move your head or the top half of your body forwards and downwards 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 Emperor.
- 2[transitive] bow your head to move your head forwards and downwards She bowed her head in shame. They stood in silence with their heads bowed.
- 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. Word Origin Old English būgan ‘bend, stoop’, of Germanic origin; related to German biegen, also to bow2. Bow of a boat/ship is late Middle English: from Low German boog, Dutch boeg,
BrE BrE//baʊ//; NAmE NAmE//baʊ//Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they bow
BrE BrE//baʊ//; NAmE NAmE//baʊ//he / she / it bows
BrE BrE//baʊz//; NAmE NAmE//baʊz//past simple bowed
BrE BrE//baʊd//; NAmE NAmE//baʊd//past participle bowed
BrE BrE//baʊd//; NAmE NAmE//baʊd//-ing form bowing
BrE BrE//ˈbaʊɪŋ//; NAmE NAmE//ˈbaʊɪŋ//