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To resign from a competition or election. The candidate bowed out after news of his scandal went public. I'm afraid I must bow out, gentlemen. Please continue the game without me.
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.
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]
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.