bow and scrape


1 [bou]
verb (used without object)
to bend the knee or body or incline the head, as in reverence, submission, salutation, recognition, or acknowledgment.
to yield; submit: to bow to the inevitable.
to bend or curve downward; stoop: the pines bowed low.
verb (used with object)
to bend or incline (the knee, body, or head) in worship, submission, respect, civility, agreement, etc.: He bowed his head to the crowd.
to cause to submit; subdue; crush.
to cause to stoop or incline: Age had bowed his head.
to express by a bow: to bow one's thanks.
to usher (someone) with a bow (usually followed by in, out, etc.): They were bowed in by the footman.
to cause to bend; make curved or crooked.
an inclination of the head or body in salutation, assent, thanks, reverence, respect, submission, etc.
Verb phrases
bow out, to resign a position or withdraw from a job, competition, obligation, etc.: He bowed out after two terms as governor.
bow and scrape, to be excessively polite or deferential.
make one's bow, to appear publicly for the first time, as a performer, politician, etc.: The young pianist made her bow last night to an appreciative audience.
take a bow, to step forward or stand up in order to receive recognition, applause, etc.: The conductor had the soloists take a bow.

before 900; Middle English bowen (v.), Old English būgan; cognate with Dutch buigen; akin to German biegen, Gothic biugan, Old Norse buga, etc.

bowedness, noun
bowingly, adverb

bode, bowed.

1. See bend1. 2. surrender, accede, defer, acquiesce, comply, capitulate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bow1 (baʊ)
vb (usually foll by down)
1.  to lower (one's head) or bend (one's knee or body) as a sign of respect, greeting, assent, or shame
2.  to bend or cause to bend; incline downwards
3.  (intr; usually foll by to or before) to comply or accept: bow to the inevitable
4.  (tr; foll by in, out, to etc) to usher (someone) into or out of a place with bows and deference: the manager bowed us to our car
5.  to bring (a person, nation, etc) to a state of submission
6.  bow and scrape to behave in an excessively deferential or obsequious way
7.  a lowering or inclination of the head or body as a mark of respect, greeting, or assent
8.  take a bow to acknowledge or receive applause or praise
[Old English būgan, related to Old Norse bjūgr bent, Old High German biogan to bend, Dutch buigen]

bow2 (bəʊ)
1.  See also crossbow a weapon for shooting arrows, consisting of an arch of flexible wood, plastic, metal, etc bent by a string (bowstring) fastened at each end
2.  a.  a long slightly curved stick across which are stretched strands of horsehair, used for playing the strings of a violin, viola, cello, or related instrument
 b.  a stroke with such a stick
3.  a.  a decorative interlacing of ribbon or other fabrics, usually having two loops and two loose ends
 b.  the knot forming such an interlacing; bowknot
4.  a.  something that is curved, bent, or arched
 b.  (in combination): rainbow; oxbow; saddlebow
5.  a person who uses a bow and arrow; archer
6.  (US)
 a.  a frame of a pair of spectacles
 b.  a sidepiece of the frame of a pair of spectacles that curls round behind the ear
7.  a metal ring forming the handle of a pair of scissors or of a large old-fashioned key
8.  architect See also bow window part of a building curved in the form of a bow
9.  to form or cause to form a curve or curves
10.  to make strokes of a bow across (violin strings)
[Old English boga arch, bow; related to Old Norse bogi a bow, Old High German bogo, Old Irish bocc, and bow1]

bow3 (baʊ)
1.  chiefly nautical
 a.  (often plural) the forward end or part of a vessel
 b.  (as modifier): the bow mooring line
2.  rowing short for bowman
3.  nautical on the port bow within 45 degrees to the port of straight ahead
4.  nautical on the starboard bow within 45 degrees to the starboard of straight ahead
5.  informal a shot across someone's bows a warning
[C15: probably from Low German boog; related to Dutch boeg, Danish bov ship's bow, shoulder; see bough]

Bow (bəʊ)
Clara, known as the It Girl. 1905--65, US film actress, noted for her vivacity and sex appeal

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. bugan "to bend, to bow down, to bend the body in condescension," also "to turn back" (class II strong verb; past tense beag, pp. bogen), from P.Gmc. *bugon (cf. Du. buigen, M.L.G. bugen, O.H.G. biogan, Ger. biegen, Goth. biugan "to bend," O.N. boginn "bent"), from *beugen, from PIE base *bheugh-
(cf. Skt. bhujati "bends, thrusts aside"). The noun is first recorded 1650s. Bow out "withdraw" is from 1942.

weapon for shooting arrows, O.E. boga "archery bow, arch, rainbow," from P.Gmc. *bugon (cf. O.N. bogi, O.Fris. boga, Du. boog, Ger. Bogen "bow;" see bow (v.)). The sense of "a looped knot" is from 1540s. The musician's bow (1570s) formerly was curved like the archer's. Bowlegged
is attested from 1550s.

"front of a ship," mid-14c., from O.N. bogr or M.Du. boech "bow of a ship," lit. "shoulder (of an animal)," the connecting notion being "the shoulders of the ship." See bough.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
bag of waters (the amniotic sac in pregnancy)
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Bible Dictionary

Bow definition

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.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

bow and scrape

Behave obsequiously or too deferentially, as in In this fashionable store, the salespersons virtually bow and scrape before customers. This term alludes to the old-fashioned custom of bowing so deeply that one's foot draws back and scrapes the ground. A cliché for a century or more, it may be dying out. [Mid-1600s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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