Bow vs bow

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Bow and bow are two words that are spelled identically but are pronounced differently and have different meanings, which makes them heteronyms. We will examine the definitions of the words bow and bow, where these words came from, and a few examples of their use in sentences.

Bow (bow) means to bend at the waist or dip one’s head in a show of respect. Bow may also mean to accede to someone’s demands. Related words are bows, bowed, bowing. This meaning of the word bow is derived from the Old English word bugan, which means to bend. Bow may also mean the front part of a ship. This meaning of the word bow is derived from the Old Norse word, bogr.

Bow (boh) may mean a particular knot tied with two loose loops often used in hair decorations, wrapped packages, or when tying shoes. The word bow may also mean a stringed weapon used to propel arrows. Finally, a bow may be a rod strung with horsehair that is used to play a musical instrument like a violin or cello. The word bow is derived from the Old English word boga, which meant either a stringed bow, an arch, or a rainbow.


Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen was defiant on Tuesday, a day before the European Union is to decide whether to end the country’s special trade preferences over human rights concerns, saying the nation “will not bow down” to foreign demands. (Reuters)

Still, the Queen reportedly spent a few private minutes with him that day — and, as is seen in season 3 of The Crown on Netflix, the Duke reportedly rose from his bed to bow to her. (Good Housekeeping Magazine)

A 700-pound black bear (Ursus americanus) is the largest of its species to have been shot with a bow and arrow, says bow hunting group the Pope and Young Club. (Newsweek)

“The bows were placed into the hair not like an accessory but as a hair piece; a ‘bow hat’ – by wrapping the hair around the bow so it was within the style.” (Harpers Bazaar)