Bow: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bow may refer to:

  • Bow (weapon) (pronounced /ˈboʊ/), an archery weapon that uses elasticity to propel arrows
  • Bowing (pronounced /ˈbaʊ/), to lower the head or the upper body
  • Bow (ship) (pronounced /ˈbaʊ/), the foremost point of the hull of a ship or boat
  • Bow, a type of knot
  • Bow (music), a device used to play a stringed instrument
  • Hair bow, a piece of hairstyle adornment worn by girls
  • Bow tie, a style of tie
  • Musical bow, a musical instrument resembling an archer's bow
  • EBow, a hand-held electronic device for playing the electric guitar
  • Bow and warp of semiconductor wafers and substrates, a parameter of the semiconductor wafer


United Kingdom
United States

Other uses

  • Bow (She-Ra), a character from She-Ra: Princess of Power
  • Bows (band), a band from the UK
  • BOW (Resident Evil), in Resident Evil videogames and movies the short definition of Bio-Organic Weapons

See also

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

'BOW (pronounced "bõ"), a common Teutonic word for anything bent' (0. Eng. b03a; cf. 0. Sax. and O.H.G.' bogo, M.H.G. boge, Mod. Ger. bogen; from O. Teut. stem bug- of beugan, Mod. Ger. biegen, to bend). Thus it is found in English compound words, e.g. " elbow," "rainbow," "bow-net," "bowwindow," "bow-knot," "saddle-bow," and by itself as the designation of a great variety of objects. The Old English use of "bow," or stone-bow, for "arch," now obsolete, survives in certain names of churches and places, e.g. Bow church (St Mary-in-Arcubus) in Cheapside, and Stratford-le-Bow (the "Stratford-atte-Bowe" of Chaucer). "Bow," however, is still the designation of objects so various as an appliance for shooting arrows (see Archery), a necktie in the form of a bow-knot (i.e. a double-looped knot), a ring or hoop forming a handle (e.g. the bow of a watch), certain instruments or tools consisting of a bent piece of wood with the ends drawn together by a string, used for drilling, turning, &c., in various crafts, and the stick strung with horsehair by means of which the strings of instruments of the violin family are set in vibration. It is with this last that the present article is solely concerned.

Bow in Music

The modern bow (Fr. archet; Ger. Bogen; Ital. arco) consists of five parts, i.e. the "stick," the screw or "ferrule," the "nut," the "hair" and the "head." The stick, in high-grade bows, is made of Pernambuco wood (Caesalpinia brasiliensis), which alone combines the requisite lightness, elasticity and power of resistance; for the cheaper bows American oak is used, and for the double-bass bow beech. A billet rich in colouring matter and straight in the grain is selected, and the stick is usually cut from a templet so as to obtain the accurate taper, which begins about 44 in. from the nut, decreasing according to regular proportions from a in. at the screw to 3 3 6 - at the back of the head. The stick is cut absolutely straight and parallel along its whole length with the fibre of the wood; it is then bent by heat until it is slightly convex to the hair and has assumed the elegant cambrure first given to it by Francois Tourte (1747-1835). This process requires the greatest care, for if the fibres be not heated right through, they offer a continual resistance to the curve, and return after a time to the rigid 1 It is not likely that any remains of it now exist.

2 "Bow," the forepart or head of a ship, must be distinguished from this word. It is the same word, and pronounced in the same way, as "bough," an arm or limb of a tree, and represents a common Teutonic word, seen in 0. Eng. bog, Ger. Bug, shoulder, and is cognate with Gr. 1r3xvr, forearm. The sense of "shoulder" of a ship is not found in 0. Eng. bog. but was probably borrowed from Dutch or Danish. "Bow," an inclination of the head or body, though pronounced as "bough," is of the same origin as "bow," to bend.

straight line, a defect often observed in cheap bows. The sticks are now of either cylindrical or octagonal section, and are lapped or covered with gold thread or leather for some inches beyond the nut in order to afford a firm grip. The length of the stick was definitely and finally fixed by Francois Tourte at 29.34 to 29.528 in.

The centre of gravity in a well-balanced violin bow should be at 19 cm. (74 to 74 in.) from the nut; 1 in the violoncello bow the hair measures from 60 to 62 cm. (24 to 25 in.), and the centre of gravity is at from 175 to 180 mm. (7 to 74 in.) from the nut. In consequence of the flexure given to the stick, Tourte found it necessary to readjust the proportions and relative height of head and nut, in order to keep the hair at a satisfactory distance from the stick, and at the necessary angle in attacking the strings so as to avoid contact between stick and strings in bowing. In order to counterbalance the consequent increased weight of the head and to keep the centre of gravity nearer the hand, Tourte loaded the nut with metal inlays or ornamental designs.

The screw or ferrule, at the cylindrical end of the stick held by the hand, provides the means of tightening or loosening the tension of the hair. This screw, about 34 in. long, hidden within the stick, runs through the eye of another little screw at right angles to it, which is firmly embedded in the nut.

The nut is a wooden block at the screw end of the stick, the original purpose of which was to keep the hair at a proper distance from the stick and to provide a secure attachment for the hair. The whole nut slides up and down the stick in a groove in answer to the screw, thus tightening or relaxing the tension of the hair. In the nut is a little cavity or chamber, into which the knotted end of the hair is firmly fixed by means of a little wedge, the hair being then brought out and flattened over the front of the nut like a ribbon by the pressure of a flat ferrule. The mother-of-pearl slide which runs along a mortised groove further protects the hair on the outside of the nut. Bows having these attachments of ferrule and slide, added by Tourte at the instigation of the violinist Giovanni Battista Viotti, were known as archets a recouvrements. The hair is chosen from the best white horsehair, and each of the 150 to 200 hairs which compose the half-inch wide ribbon of the bow must be perfectly cylindrical and smooth. It is bought by the pound, and must be very carefully sorted, for not more than one hair in ten is perfectly cylindrical and fit for use on a high-grade bow. Experience determines the right number of hairs, for if the ribbon be too thick it hinders the vibration of the strings; if too thin the friction is not strong enough to produce a good tone. Fetis gives 175 to 250 as the number used in the modern bow,' and Julius Riihlmann 110 to 120.3 Tourte attached the greatest importance to the hairing of the bow, and bestowed quite as much attention upon it as upon the stick. He subjected the hair to the following process of cleansing: first it was thoroughly scoured with soap and water to remove all grease, then steeped in bran-water, freed from all heterogeneous matter still adhering to it, and finally rinsed in pure water slightly blued. When passed between the fingers in the direction from root to tip, the hair glides smoothly and offers no resistance, but passed in the opposite direction it feels rough, suggesting a regular succession of minute projections. The outer epithelium or sheath of the hair is composed of minute scales which produce a succession of infinitesimal shocks when the hair is drawn across the strings; the force and uniformity of these shocks, which produce series of vibrations of equal persistency, is considerably heightened by the application of rosin to the hair. The particles of rosin cling to the scales of the epithelium, thus accentuating the projections and the energy of the attack or "bite" upon the strings. With use, the scales of the epithelium wear off, and then no matter how much rosin is applied, the bow fails to elicit musical sounds - it is then "played out" and must be re-haired. The organic construction of horsehair makes it necessary, in hairing the bow, to lay the hairs in opposite directions, so that the up and down strokes may be equal and a pure and even tone obtained. Waxed silk is wound round both ends of the hair to form a strong knot, which is afterwards covered with melted rosin and hardens with the hair into a solid mass.

The head, i in. long and iu in. wide at the plate, is cut in one piece with the stick, an operation which requires delicate workmanship; otherwise the head is liable to snap at this point during a sforzando passage. The head has a chamber and wedge contrivance similar to that of the nut, in which the other end of the hair is immovably fixed. The hair on the face of the head is protected by a metal or ivory plate.

The model bow here described, elaborated by Francois Tourte as long ago as between 1775 and 1780 according to Fetis, 4 or between 1785 and 1790 according to Vidal,' has not since been surpassed.

1 See F. J. Fetis, Antoine Stradivari, pp. 120-121 (Paris, 1856).

2 Fetis, op. cit. p. 123.

J. Riihlmann, Die Geschichte der Bogeninstrumente (Brunswick, 1882), p. 143.

4 Fetis, op. cit. p. 119.

Antoine Vidal, Les Instruments a archet (Paris, 1876-1878), tome i. p. 269.

That the violin and the bow form one inseparable whole becomes evident when we consider the history of the forerunners of the viol family: without the bow the ancestor of the violin would have remained a guitar; the bow would not have reached its present state of perfection had it been required only for instruments of the rebec and vielle type. As soon as the possibilities of the violin were realized, as a solo instrument capable, through the agency of the bow, of expressing the emotions of the performer, the perfecting of the bow was prosecuted in earnest until it was capable of responding to every shade of delicate thought and feeling. This accounts in a measure for the protracted development of the bow, which, although used long before the violin had been evolved, did not reach a state of perfection at the hands of Tourte until more than a century and a half after the Cremona master had given us the violin.

The question of the origin of the bow still remains a matter of conjecture. Its appearance in western Europe seems to have coincided with the conquest of Spain by the Moors in the 8th century, and the consequent impetus their superior culture gave to arts and sciences in the south-west of Europe. We have, however, no well-authenticated representation of the bow before the 9th century in Europe; the earliest is the bow illustrated along with the Lyra Teutonica by Martin Gerbert, 6 the representation being taken from a MS. at the monastery of St Blaise, dating in his opinion from the 9th century. On the other hand, Byzantine art of the 9th and i ith centuries reveals acquaintance with a bow far in advance of most of the crude contemporary specimens of western Europe. The bow undoubtedly came from the East, and was obviously borrowed by the Greeks of Asia Minor and the Arabs from a common source - probably India, by way of Persia. The earliest representation of a bow yet discovered is to be found among the fine frescoes in one of the chapels of the monastery of Bawit 8 in Egypt. The mural paintings in question were the work of many artists, covering a considerable period of time. The only non-religious subject depicted is a picture of a youthful Orpheus, assigned by Jean Cledat to some date not later than the 8th century A.D., but more probably the work of a 6th -century artist. Orpheus is holding an instrument, which appears to be a rebab, against his chin, in the act of bowing and stopping the strings. The bow is similar in shape to one shown in the Psalter of Labeo Notker, Leipzig, 10th century, mentioned farther on. On Indian scu t ' tures of the first centuries of our era, such as the Buddhist stupas of Amaravati, the risers of the topes of Jamal-Garhi, in the Yusafzai district of Afghanistan (both in the British Museum), on which stringed instruments abound, there is no bow. The bow has remained a primitive instrument in India to this day; a Hindu tradition assigns its invention to Ravanon, a king of Ceylon, and the instrument for which it was invented was called ravanastron; a primitive instrument of that name is still in use in Hindustan. 9 F. J. Fetis, 10 Antoine Vidal, u Edward HeronAllen, 12 and others have given the question some consideration, and readers who wish to pursue the matter farther are referred to their works.

There is thus no absolute proof of the existence of the bow in primitive times. The earliest bow known in Europe was associated with the rebab (q.v.), the most widely used bowed instrument until the 12th century. The development of this 6 De Cantu et Musica Sacra (1774), tome ii. pl. xxxii. No. 18; the MS. has since perished by fire.

See, for an illustration of the bowed instrument on one of the sides of a Byzantine ivory casket, 9th century, in the Carrand Collection, Florence, A. Venturi, Gallerie Nazionali Italiane, iii. (Rome, 1897), plate, p. 263; and Add. MS. 19,352, British Museum, Greek Psalter, dated 1066.

8 See Jean Cledat, "Le Monastere et la nbcropole de Baouit," in Mem. de l'Inst. franc. d'archeol. orient. du Caire, vol. xii. (1904), chap. xviii. pl. lxiv. (2); also Fernand Cabrol, Dict. d'archeol. chretienne, s.v. " Baouit." 9 For an illustration, see Sonnerat, Voyage aux Indes orientales (Paris, 1806), vol.i. p. 182.

Op. cit. pp. 4-10.

p. cit. vol. i. p. 3 and p1. ii.

12 Edward Heron-Allen, Violin-making as it was and is (London, 1884), pp. 37-4 2, figs. 5-to.

instrument can be traced with some degree of certainty, but it is quite impossible to decide at what date or in what place the use of the bow was introduced. The bow developed very slowly in Europe and remained a crude instrument as long as it was applied to the rebab and its hybrids. Its progress became marked only from the time when it was applied to the almost perfect guitar (q.v.), which then became the guitar fiddle, the immediate forerunner of the viols.

The first improvement on the primitive arched bow was to provide some sort of handle in a straight line with the hair or string of the bow, such as is shown in the MS. translation of the Psalms by Labeo Notker, late 10th century, in the University library, Leipzig.' The length of the handle was often greatly exaggerated, perhaps by the fancy of the artist. Another handle (see Bodleian Library MS., N.E.D. 2, 12th century) was in the form of a hilt with a knob, possibly a screw-nut, in which the arched stick and the hair were both fixed. The first development of importance influencing the technique of stringed instruments was the attempt to find some device for controlling the tension of the hair. The contrivance known as cremaillere, which was the first step in this direction, seems to have been foreshadowed in the bows drawn in a quaint MS. of the 14th century in the British Museum (Sloane 3983, fol. 43 and 13) on astronomy. Forming an obtuse angle with the handle of the bow is a contrivance shaped Drawn from the ivory cover of like a spear-head which presumably rawn the Lothair Psalter, (by permission served some useful purpose; if it of Sir Thomas Brooke. had notches (which would be too FIG. i. - Earliest Bow of small to show in the drawing), and the cremaillere Type (c the hair of the bow was finished with i Ith century).

a loop, then we have here an early example of a device for controlling the tension. Another bow in the same MS. has two round knobs on the stick which may be assumed to have served the same purpose.

A very early example of the cremaillere bow (fig. 1) occurs on a carved ivory plate ornamenting the binding of the fine Carolingian MS. Psalter of Lothair (A.D. 825), for some time known as the Ellis and White Psalter, but now in the library of Sir Thomas Brooke at Armitage Bridge House. The carved figure of King David, assigned from its characteristic pose and the treatment of the drapery to the 11th century, holds a stringed The artist has added a bow with cremaillere attachment, which is startling if the carving be accurately placed in the i ith century. The earliest representation of a cremaillere bow, with this exception, dates from the i 5th century, according to Viollet-le-Duc, who merely states that it was copied from a painting. 3 Fetis (op. cit. p. i i 7) figures a cremaillere bow which he styles "Bassani, 1680." Sebastian Virdung draws a bow for a tromba marina, with the hair and stick bound together with waxed cord. The hair appears to be kept more or less tense by means of a wedge of wood or other material forced in between stick and hair, the latter bulging slightly at this point like the string of an archery bow when the arrow is in position; this contrivance may be due to the fancy of the artist.

The invention of a movable nut propelled by a screw is ascribed to the elder Tourte (fig. 2); had we not this information on the best authority (Vuillaume and Fetis), it might be imagined that some of the bows figured by Mersenne, 4 e.g. the bass viol bow KL (p. 184), and another KLM (p. 192), had a movable nut and screw; the nut is clearly drawn astride the stick as in the modern bow. Mersenne explains (p. 178) the construction of the bow, which consists of three parts: the bois, baton or brin, the soye, and the demi-roue or hausse. The term "half-wheel" clearly indicates that the base of the nut was cut round so as to fit round the stick. In the absence of any allusion to such ingenious mechanism as that of screw and nut, we must infer that the drawing is misleading and that the very decided button was only meant for an ornamental finish to the stick. We are informed further that la soye was in reality hairs from the horse or some other animal, of which from 80 to zoo were used for each bow. The up-stroke of the bow was used on the weak beats, 2, 4, 6, 8, and the down-stroke on the strong beats, I, 3, 5, 7 (p. 185). The same practice prevailed in England in 1667,when Christopher Simpson wrote the Division Viol. He gives information concerning the construction of the bow in these words: "the viol-bow for division should be stiff but not heavy. The length (betwixt the two places where the hairs are fastened at each end) about seven-and-twenty inches. The nut should be short, the height of it about a finger's breadth or a little more" (p. 2). As soon as Corelli (1653-1713) formulated the principles of the technique of the violin, marked modifications in the construction of the bow became noticeable. Tartini, who began during the second decade of the 18th century to gauge the capabilities of the bow, introduced further improvements, such as a lighter wood for the stick, a straight contour, and a shorter head, in order to give better equilibrium. The Tourtes, father and son, accomplished the rest.

After Francois Tourte,thefollowingmakers are the most esteemed: J. B. Vuillaume, who was directly inspired by Tourte and rendered an inestimable service to violinists by working out on a scientific basis the empirical taper of the Tourte stick, which was found in all his bows to conform to strict ratio;' Dominique Peccate, apprenticed to J. B. Vuillaume; Henry, 1812-1870, who signs his Drawn from bows the property of William E. Hill & Sons.

FIG. 2. - A, B, Tartini Bows; C, Tourte Bow.

instrument, a rotta of peculiar shape, which occurs twice in other Carolingian MSS.' of the 9th century, but copied here without understanding, as though it were a lyre with many strings.

1 MS. 774, fol. 30. For an illustration of it see Hyacinth Abele, Die Violine, ihre Geschichte and ihr Bau (Neuburg-a-D., 1874), pl. 5, No. 7.

2 See Crowd for fig. from the Bible of Charles le Chauve; and also King David in the Bible of St Paul extra muros, Rome (photographic facsimile by J. O. Westwood, Oxford, 1876).

stick near the nut; Jacques Lefleur, 1 77418 37, the first to line the angular slides along the stick, with a plate of See Dictionnaire raisonne du mobilier francais (Paris, 1871), vol. ii. part iv. pp. 265 D. and 266 note.

Marin Mersenne, L'Harmonie universelle (Paris, 1636-1637), pp. 184 and 192.

6 Vuillaume's diagram and explanation are reproduced by Fetis, op. cit. pp. 125-128.

name and "Paris" on the 1760-1832; Francois Lupot, cutting of the nut, where it metal; Simon, born 1808, who also signs his bows on the stick near the nut; John Dodd of Richmond, the greatest English bow-maker, who was especially renowned for his violoncello bows, though his violin bows had the defect of being rather short.

The violoncello bow is a little shorter than those used for violin and viola, and the head and nut are deeper.

The principal models of double-bass bows in vogue at the beginning of the 19th century were the Dragonetti, maintaining the arch of the medieval bows, and the Bottesini, shaped and held like the violin bow; the former was held over-hand with the hair inclining towards the bridge, and was adopted by the Paris Conservatoire under Habeneck about 1830; the great artist himself sent over the model from London. Illustrations of both bows are given by Vidal (op. cit. p1. xviii.).

Messrs W. E. Hill & Sons probably possess the finest and most representative collection of bows in the world. (K. S.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to bow article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Etymology 1

From Old English boga, from Proto-Germanic *bugan-. Cognate with Dutch boog, German Bogen, Swedish båge, Danish bue.



a bow (1)



bow (plural bows)

  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.
Derived terms


to bow

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to bow (third-person singular simple present bows, present participle bowing, simple past and past participle bowed)

  1. To play music on (a stringed instrument) using a bow.
    The musician bowed his violin expertly.
  2. (intransitive) To become bent or curved.
    The shelf bowed under the weight of the books.
  3. (transitive) To make something bend or curve.

Etymology 2

From Old English būgan, from Proto-Germanic *beugan. Cognate with Dutch buigen, German biegen.





bow (plural bows)

  1. A gesture, usually showing respect, made by 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.
    • 1832, “Literary Notices”, The Rail-Road Journal, vol. 1, no. 1, page 123: 
      The first named one, it will be observed, is but a debutant. It makes its bow in a drab-colored Quaker-looking dress, and barring a lively McGrawler-like critique upon " Lewis' Poems," is staid and professorial in its tone.


to bow

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to bow (third-person singular simple present bows, present participle bowing, simple past and past participle bowed)

  1. (intransitive) To bend oneself as a gesture of respect or deference.
  2. (transitive and intransitive) To debut.
Derived terms
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Etymology 3

Wikipedia has an article on:


Low German


Homophones: bough


The bow of a ship.



bow (plural bows)

  1. (nautical) The front of a boat or ship.
Derived terms

See also


  • Anagrams of bow
  • WBO

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

The bow was in use in early times both in war and in the chase (Gen. 21:20; 27:3; 48:22). The tribe of Benjamin were famous for the use of the bow (1 Chr. 8:40; 12:2; 2 Chr. 14:8; 17:17); so also were the Elamites (Isa. 22:6) and the Lydians (Jer. 46:9). The Hebrew word commonly used for bow means properly to tread (1 Chr. 5:18; 8:40), and hence it is concluded that the foot was employed in bending the bow. Bows of steel (correctly "copper") are mentioned (2 Sam. 22:35; Ps. 18:34).

The arrows were carried in a quiver (Gen. 27:3; Isa. 22:6; 49:2; Ps. 127:5). They were apparently sometimes shot with some burning material attached to them (Ps. 120:4).

The bow is a symbol of victory (Ps. 7:12). It denotes also falsehood, deceit (Ps. 64:3, 4; Hos. 7:16; Jer. 9:3).

"The use of the bow" in 2 Sam. 1:18 (A.V.) ought to be "the song of the bow," as in the Revised Version.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

Orlando Bloom has ruined everything.

The Bow is a popular weapon in video games. Much like the sword, the bow is a standard weapon in medieval-based fantasy games. The bow is typically used as an alternative weapon (and is rarely the main weapon) that allows for long range attacks, and sometimes limited ammo.

In many games, bows work more and more like guns do in First-person shooters, in that they can be shot from a first person perspective, and require ammo power ups dropped by enemies.

Bows usually fire arrows. In some games, bows fire fire-arrows and other projectiles.

Games that use bows

This article uses material from the "Bow" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

The English Wiktionary has a dictionary definition (meanings of a word) for:

Bow can mean:

(Rhyming with "no":)

  • Bow (weapon), "bows and arrows"
  • Bow (music), the bow used to play musical instruments
  • A type of knot which has two large loops. It is used to tie simple things such as apron strings, shoelaces, or ribbons on wrapped-up presents or for decoration in girls' hair.

(Rhyming with "now":)

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