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Bow (weapon)

A bow (rhymes with "so") is a weapon that shoots arrows. It is useful for hunting and war. The technique of using a bow is called archery.

A large number of different bow designs have been used in different cultures and time periods. Common designs are; solid wood (the English longbow), laminated wood (Japanese and Saami bows) and bone-wood-hide composite (Middle East, India, Mongols). In modern times, the plastic composite and compound bows dominate for sport and hunting practices.

Although the bow is nowadays thought of primarily as a weapon, it is not clear whether this was the original use of the device. Instead it may have started life as a musical instrument and only later used to shoot arrows. The bow is still used as a musical instrument in some cultures today. It is usually referred to as a musical bow when used in this way, both to distinguish it from the weapon, and from the kind of bow used to play string instruments.

Modern day use of bows for hunting is a matter of some controversy.

The "artillery" form of a bow is a ballista.

See also: crossbow, weapon

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