Bow (weapon)

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Queenie Newall at the 1908 Olympic Games with her bow

A bow is a semi-flexible strip of wood or other material, which is bent and put under tension by a string stretched between its ends. By pulling back the string a lateral force can be applied to an arrow or bolt which despatches the missile at high speed when released.

Historically bows were made of a single piece of wood, the English long-bow being made of yew. However, compound bows made of laminated strips and pre-shaped into an arc have proven to be more powerful.