Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

bow

1 verb
     
bow1
1 [intransitive] to bend the top part of your body forward in order to show respect for someone important, or as a way of thanking an audience:
She bowed and left the stage.
Corbett entered the room, bowing respectfully.
The servant bowed low and handed his master the sealed note.
bow before/to
He bowed before the king.
2

bow your head

to bend your neck so that you are looking at the ground, especially because you want to show respect for God, or because you are embarrassed or upset:
She bowed her head and prayed.
Phil stood, his head bowed in shame.
3 [intransitive and transitive] to bend your body over something, especially in order to see it more closely
bow over
Teague sat at his desk, bowed over a book.
4 [intransitive and transitive] to bend or to make something bend:
The trees bowed in the wind.
His back was bowed under the weight of the heavy bag.
5

bow and scrape

to show too much respect to someone in authority - used to show disapproval

bow down

phrasal verb
1 to bend your body forward, especially when you are already kneeling, in order to show respect
bow down before/to etc
Maria bowed down before the statue.
2

bow down to somebody

literary to let someone give you orders or tell you what to do - used to show disapproval

bow out

phrasal verb
1 to stop taking part in an activity, job etc, especially one that you have been doing for a long time
bow out of
Reeves thinks it is time for him to bow out of politics.
2 to not do something that you have promised or agreed to do [= get out of]
bow out of
You're not trying to bow out of this, are you?

bow to somebody/something

phrasal verb
to finally agree to do something that people want you to do, even though you do not want to do it:
Congress may bow to public pressure and lift the arms embargo.
Myers finally bowed to the inevitable (=accepted something he could not change) and withdrew from the campaign.

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