bow


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bow down before (someone)

To obey, pledge allegiance, or submit one's will to someone, especially in a reverential or servile manner. My allegiance is to my own country; I'll never bow down before you! The autocratic CEO all but makes his employees bow down before him.
See also: before, bow, down

bow down to (someone)

To obey, pledge allegiance, or submit one's will to someone, especially in a reverential or servile manner. My allegiance is to my own country; I'll never bow down to you! The autocratic CEO all but makes his employees bow down to him.
See also: bow, down

bow out of the running

To resign from a given competition or election. After the scandal became public, he was obliged to bow out of the running.
See also: bow, of, out, running

have more than one string to (one's) bow

To have multiple viable options or alternatives available in the event that the current course of action, circumstance, opportunity, etc., does not work out. With all this varied job experience under my belt, I have more than one string to my bow if this particular career path isn't to my liking. I've got a job interview next week, but I'm still handing out my résumé so that I'll have more than one string to my bow.
See also: bow, have, more, one, string

have many strings to (one's) bow

To have many reliable opportunities, skills, or resources at one's disposal. With more than two decades of decorated service in the military, Colonel Hicks has many strings to his bow as he enters civilian life. My mother trained in various fields all over the world, so she has very many strings to her bow.
See also: bow, have, many, string

born within the sound of Bow bells

Refers to those who have a cockney accent. If you are "born within the sound of Bow bells," you are born near St. Mary-le-Bow Church in London's East End. Primarily heard in UK. I have no idea what she said. I guess it's because she was born within the sound of Bow bells, and I can never quite understand a cockney accent.
See also: bell, born, bow, of, sound, within

cross (one's) bows

To annoy or irritate. Boy, you are really crossing my bows today. Why can't you just do what I ask without arguing about it?
See also: bow, cross

have two strings to (one's) bow

To have multiple ways to accomplish something. At least you have two strings to your bow, since you can always contact your aunt if the recruiter from HR doesn't call you back.
See also: bow, have, string, two

shot across the bow

A warning. It refers to a warning shot from a ship, and can take the form of words or actions. Her sharp retort was a shot across the bow, letting her boyfriend know that she would not tolerate his bad attitude.
See also: across, bow, shot

bow and scrape

Fig. to be very humble and subservient. Please don't bow and scrape. We are all equal here. The salesclerk came in, bowing and scraping, and asked if he could help us.
See also: and, bow, scrape

bow before someone or something

 
1. Lit. to bend or curtsy in respect to someone or something. I will not bow before any king or queen. Henry insisted that I bow before him.
2. Fig. to submit to someone or something; to surrender to someone or something. Our country will never bow before a dictator's demands. We will not bow before such a corrupt politician.
See also: before, bow

bow down

 (to someone or something) and bow to someone or something
1. Lit. to bend or curtsy to someone or something. Do you expect me to bow down or something when you enter? He bowed down low to the duchess. She faced forward and bowed to the altar.
2. Fig. to submit to someone or something; to yield sovereignty to someone or something. I will not bow down to you, you dictator! We will never bow to a foreign prince.
See also: bow, down

bow out (of something)

Fig. to retire or resign as something. It's time to bow out as mayor. I think I will bow out and leave this job to someone else.
See also: bow, out

bow out (of something)

Fig. to retire or resign as something. It's time to bow out as mayor. I think I will bow out and leave this job to someone else.
See also: bow, out

bow to someone's demands

Fig. to yield to someone's demands; to agree to do something that someone has requested. In the end, they had to bow to our demands. We refused to bow to their demands that we abandon the project.
See also: bow, demand

bow to the porcelain altar

Sl. to vomit, especially as a result of drinking too much alcohol. (The porcelain altar is a euphemism for a toilet bowl.) He spent the whole night bowing to the porcelain altar. I have the feeling that I will be bowing to the porcelain altar before morning.
See also: altar, bow, porcelain

take a bow

to bow and acknowledge credit for a good performance. At the end of the concerto, the pianist rose and took a bow. The audience applauded wildly and demanded that the conductor come out and take a bow again.
See also: bow, take

bow down (to somebody/something)

to obey someone or something The old man expects me to bow down to him, but I won't do it.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of bow down (to show obedience or respect by bending the head down or the body forward)
See also: bow, down

bow out (of something)

to not to do something you said you would do An accident forced Billy to bow out of the show just before the first performance.
See also: bow, out

bow to something

to accept something without really wanting to The government says it will not bow to pressure to allow untested drugs to be used.
See also: bow

a shot across the bow

a warning to stop doing something The lawsuit is a shot across the bow to businesses that are competing unfairly.
Etymology: based on the military practice of aiming a shot across the bow ( a small explosion in front of a ship) to force it to stop
See also: across, bow, shot

bow and scrape

to try too hard to please someone in a position of authority (often in continuous tenses) It's embarrassing to see staff bowing and scraping to the new Prime Minister.
See also: and, bow, scrape

fire a shot across somebody's/the bows

  (slightly formal)
if you fire a shot across someone's bows, you do something in order to warn them that you will take strong action if they do not change their behaviour Airline staff have fired a warning shot across the company's bows by threatening strike action if higher pay increases are not offered.
See also: across, bow, fire, shot

another string to your bow

  (British & Australian)
an extra skill or qualification which you can use if you cannot use your main one If you can teach English as well as yoga, it's another string to your bow. (British & Australian)
See also: another, bow, string

bow and scrape

Behave obsequiously or too deferentially, as in In this fashionable store, the salespersons virtually bow and scrape before customers. This term alludes to the old-fashioned custom of bowing so deeply that one's foot draws back and scrapes the ground. A cliché for a century or more, it may be dying out. [Mid-1600s]
See also: and, bow, scrape

bow out

Depart, withdraw, resign, as in After five years as chairman, I felt it was time I bowed out, or We'll have to beat them; they'll never bow out. [First half of 1900s]
See also: bow, out

take a bow

Acknowledge praise or applause, as in The conductor asked the composer to take a bow. This idiom uses bow in the sense of "inclining the body or head as a token of salutation." [c. 1800]
See also: bow, take

two strings to one's bow

More than one means of reaching an objective, as in Louise hasn't heard yet, but she's got two strings to her bow-she can always appeal to the chairman . This expression alludes to a well-prepared archer, who carries a spare string in case one fails. [Mid-1400s]
See also: bow, string, two

bow down

v.
1. To bend the head or the top part of the body forward as a sign of respect: The loyal subjects stood before the throne and bowed down to the king and queen.
2. To submit to someone's orders without offering resistance: The rebels refused to bow down to a corrupt government.
See also: bow, down

bow out

v.
To stop taking part in an activity or give up a position: Because of my illness, I had to bow out of my role as president. The singer bowed out of the talent show at the last minute.
See also: bow, out

bow to the porcelain altar

in. to empty one’s stomach; to vomit. (The porcelain altar is the toilet bowl.) He spent the whole night bowing to the porcelain altar.
See also: altar, bow, porcelain

bow-wow

(ˈbɑʊwɑʊ)
1. n. a dog. (Juvenile.) We’re going to get you a bow-wow!
2. n. an ugly woman; a dog. (Derogatory.) I would have chosen a better nose if I had been given a chance, but—all in all—I’m not such a bow-wow.

bow and scrape

To behave obsequiously.
See also: and, bow, scrape
References in classic literature ?
My grandsire,'' said Hubert, ``drew a good bow at the battle of Hastings, and never shot at such a mark in his life and neither will I.
So saying, he again bent his bow, but on the present occasion looked with attention to his weapon, and changed the string, which he thought was no longer truly round, having been a little frayed by the two former shots.
Where go you, my lad, with that tupenny bow and toy arrows?
My bow is as good as yours," he retorted, "and my shafts will carry as straight and as far.
Come on, then, make no excuses for delay, but let us see whether you can string the bow or no.
He could kill him at his leisure later, when the bow and deadly arrows were laid aside.
Then Robin took his good yew bow in his hand, and placing the tip at his instep, he strung it right deftly; then he nocked a broad clothyard arrow and, raising the bow, drew the gray goose feather to his ear; the next moment the bowstring rang and the arrow sped down the glade as a sparrowhawk skims in a northern wind.
Jane found that by running back and forth between the bow and stern she could alternately raise and lower each end of the boat as she shifted her weight from one end to the other, with the result that each time she leaped to the stern the canoe moved a few inches farther into the river.
Then they darted around her bow and began the row down her port side, and we tacked about, crossed her bow, and went plunging down the wind hot after them.
The doctor appeared to be still on the most friendly terms with his vigilant guardians from Bow Street.
But they were not spilled, and by-and-by Polychrome, who was clinging to the bow and looking straight ahead, saw a dark line before them and wondered what it was.
Yet, as you see, he hath left me, as he hath left many another poor border archer, with no grip for bill or bow.
Why, your bow is quite spoiled," said the old poet.
thought Kitty, discerning that Anna had intentionally not responded to Vronsky's bow.
The Indian made me a last bow, the lowest of all--and suddenly and softly walked out of the room.