Bow, n.

[See bow, to bend.]

An instrument of war, and hunting, made of wood, or other elastic matter, with a string fastened to each end. The bow being bent by drawing the string, and suddenly returning to its natural state by its elastic force, throws an arrow to a great distance, and with force sufficient to kill an animal. It is of two kinds, the long-bow, and the cross-bow, arbalet or arbalest. The use of the bow is called archery.

1. Any thing bent, or in form of a curve; the rainbow; the doubling of a string in a knot; the part of a yoke which embraces the neck; &c.

2. A small machine, formed with a stick and hairs, which being drawn over the strings of an instrument of music, causes it to sound.

3. A beam of wood or brass, with three long screws that direct a lathe of wood or steel to any arch; used in forming drafts of ships, and projections of the sphere, or wherever it is necessary to draw large arches.

4. An instrument for taking the sun's altitude at sea, consisting of a large arch of ninety degrees graduated, a shank or staff, a side-vane, a sight-vane, and a horizon-vane; now disused.

5. An instrument in use among smiths for turning a drill; with turners, for turning wood; with hatters, for breaking fur and wool.

6. Bows of a saddle, are the two pieces of wood laid archwise to receive the upper part of a horse's back, to give the saddle its due form, and to keep it tight.

7. Bow of a ship, is the rounding part of her side forward, beginning where the planks arch inwards, and terminating where they close, at the stem or prow. A narrow bow is called a lean bow; a broad one, a bold or bluff bow.

On the bow, in navigation, is an arch of the horizon, not exceeding 45 degrees, comprehended between some distant object, and that point of the compass which is right ahead.