Definition of bow verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    bow1

     verb
    verb
    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//
     
     
    jump to other results
  1. 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. 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. 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. 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, ‘shoulder or ship's bow’; related to bough.Extra examples He swept off his hat and bowed deeply to the Queen. The Emperor’s subjects bowed down before him. The pianist stood up and bowed to the audience.Idioms (disapproving) to be too polite to an important person in order to gain their approval She was beginning to tire of all their bowing and scraping. Phrasal Verbsbow down to somebodybow out (of something)bow to something
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: bow