bow 2 (bou)
v. bowed, bow·ing, bows
1. To bend or curve downward; stoop.
2. To incline the body or head or bend the knee in greeting, consent, courtesy, acknowledgment, submission, or veneration.
3. To yield in defeat or out of courtesy; submit. See Synonyms at yield.
1. To bend (the head, knee, or body) to express greeting, consent, courtesy, acknowledgment, submission, or veneration.
2. To convey (greeting, for example) by bending the body.
3. To escort deferentially: bowed us into the restaurant.
4. To cause to acquiesce; submit.
5. To overburden: Grief bowed them down.
An inclination of the head or body, as in greeting, consent, courtesy, acknowledgment, submission, or veneration.
To remove oneself; withdraw.
bow and scrape
To behave obsequiously.
[Middle English bowen, from Old English būgan; see bheug- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.