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