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Old English bugan "to bend, to bow down, to bend the body in condescension," also "to turn back" (class II strong verb; past tense beag, past participle bogen), from Proto-Germanic *bugon (cf. Dutch buigen, Middle Low German bugen, Old High German biogan, German biegen, Gothic biugan "to bend," Old Norse boginn "bent"), from *beugen, from PIE root *bheug- (3) "to bend," with derivatives referring to bent, pliable, or curved objects (cf. Sanskrit bhujati "bends, thrusts aside;" Old High German boug, Old English beag "a ring"). The noun in this sense is first recorded 1650s. Related: Bowed; bowing. Bow out "withdraw" is from 1942.
weapon for shooting arrows, Old English boga "archery bow, arch, rainbow," from Proto-Germanic *bugon (cf. Old Norse bogi, Old Frisian boga, Dutch boog, German 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 Old Norse bogr or Middle Dutch boech "bow of a ship," literally "shoulder (of an animal)," the connecting notion being "the shoulders of the ship." See bough.
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.