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Meaning and Origin of: Bow

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First name origins & meanings:

  • Norse : To live or dwell
  • Hebrew : Strong and fast
  • Scandinavian : Commanding

First name variations

Last name origin & meaning:

  • English : metonymic occupational name for a maker or seller of bows, from Middle English bow (Old English boga, from būgan ‘to bend’). Before the invention of gunpowder, the bow was an important long-range weapon for shooting game as well as in warfare. Boga is also found as a personal name in Old English, and it is possible that this survived into Middle English and so may lie behind the surname in some instances. In other cases (for example, Richard atte Bowe, 1306), the name is topographic, from the same word in the transferred sense ‘arched bridge’, ‘river bend’, an allusion to their similarity in shape to a drawn bow.
  • Irish : Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Buadhaigh (see Bogue).