Bough or bow

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bough (pronounced /bau/) is a main branch of a tree. Its homonym bow has several meanings including: to quit a competition, to bend the body in an act of submission or reverence, to acknowledge applause, or debut.

Bow can be pronounced /bo/ and has an alternate meaning. It can be a tie of a ribbon, a weapon made to shoot arrows, or a rod strung with hair to play a stringed instrument.


There is an instinctive fear in all of us, probably dating back to primeaval times, when it comes to entering forests at night. Trees, bushes and glades that seemed benign during the day take on darker, more suspicious appearances, and every creaking bough and snapping twig make us look over our shoulders with alarm. [Bristol Post]

John Alexander Duthie, 49, was watching his children take part in the Cedar College sports day in September 2009 when the bough of a large ironbark gum fell in strong winds, injuring him and two others. [ABC News AU]

Luke Gale scored four tries as Bradford Bulls bowed out of Super League in style by seeing off the London Broncos 46-36 in a thrilling contest in the capital. [Yahoo Eurosport]

“Bow down, people of Glasgow!” he cackled maniacally, again and again. “Bow down to your imperial masters! Be grateful! They’ve travelled all this way! Don’t worry, they’ll put it on expenses! Bow down!” [The Telegraph]

After Karl took his final Broadway bow at the Winter Garden Theatre, he hit the studio with his wife, Tony nominee Orfeh, to record a funny (and also kinda touching—fine, we cried) rap about his journey in the musical. [Broadway]

Maggie Gyllenhaal will make her Broadway debut starring opposite Ewan McGregor in “The Real Thing” starting in October, while her brother, Jake, will also make his Broadway bow in Nick Payne’s play “Constellations” beginning in December. [NJ]