Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Bow (to rhyme with flow).

 Bovey Coal.Bow (to rhyme with now). 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
 
Bow (to rhyme with flow).
 
(Anglo-Saxon, boga; verb, bogan or bugan, to arch.)   1
   Draw not your bow till your arrow is fixed. Have everything ready before, you begin.   2
   He has a famous bow up at the castle. Said of a braggart or pretender.   3
   He has two strings to his bow. Two means of accomplishing his object; if one fails, he can try the other. The allusion is to the custom of the British bowmen carrying a reserve string in case of accident.   4
   To draw a bow at a venture. To attack with a random remark; to make a random remark which may hit the truth.   5
        “A certain man drew a bow at a venture and smote the King of Israel.”—1 Kings xxii, 34.
   To draw the long bow. To exaggerate. The long-bow was the famous English weapon till gunpowder was introduced, and it is said that a good archer could hit between the fingers of a man’s hand at a considerable distance, and could propel his arrow a mile. The tales told about long-bow adventures are so wonderful that they fully justify the phrase given above.   6
   To unstring the bow will not heal the wound (Italian). René of Anjou, king of Sicily, on the death of his wife, Isabeau of Lorraine, adopted the emblem of a bow with the string broken, and with the words given above for the motto, by which he meant, “Lamentation for the loss of his wife was but poor satisfaction.”   7
 


 Bovey Coal.Bow (to rhyme with now). 

 
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