A bowyer is the person who builds the bows used in archery. Is there a single word (verb/ noun) describing this occupation (= making bows)? Maybe I am a spoiled German speaker, because in German, if there is a word for a thing (Bogen = bow) you virtually always construct a single (composite-) word describing the occupation of making it (Bogenbau).

  • 4
    We, too, have standard derivatives: bowmaker, bowmaking. But the ancient and established term for a bowmaker is bowyer, from which you may construct bowyery. Sep 15, 2014 at 20:00
  • I would think "bowyer" would apply to both the person and the occupation while "bowyery" is the name of the skill. What's your occupation? I'm a bowyer. I'm skilled in the art of bowyery.
    – JamieB
    Sep 15, 2014 at 20:25
  • 1
    This is consistent with archer (the person) and archery (the skill/ occupation).
    – Dohn Joe
    Sep 15, 2014 at 20:31
  • I don't think very many people would recognise or understand the word bowyer (I have only ever met it as a name). I would say bowmaker.
    – Colin Fine
    Sep 15, 2014 at 21:58

1 Answer 1


The occupation would be bow making, plain and simple.

You can spell it bowmaking if you insist, but you don't have to. For all intents and purposes, it is a single word either way.

Never worry about spaces. A compound is a compound. The Germans just leave out a couple spaces, but other than that, it's actually the exact same thing as in English, another Germanic language. It's all about orthography (which is always an approximation and a compromise, by design), but the underlying mechanisms are exactly the same. The German Kontroll­fluß­graph­visualisierungs­software is the exact same thing as its English counterpart, "control flow graph visualization software". The exact same compound, part for part, in the exact same order. A single unit, give or take any number of spaces. Spoken language is primary, and there are no spaces in there. They're just smoke and mirrors.

  • Thanks for exlanation on compounds. Many German speaker appreciate the brevity on English, since the English does not tend to build such huge words for everthing.
    – Dohn Joe
    Sep 15, 2014 at 20:12
  • ... at the same time, the German way of spelling compounds gets you words that are long and succinct at the same time, and English very much recognizes that by borrowing (kindergarten, wunderkind, doppelganger, wanderlust, zeitgeist, schadenfreude...). Just the other day I posted this Spiegel article in our chat, featuring the lovely word Skandalbürgermeister, and guess what — it immediately got appreciation from English speakers. How could it not.
    – RegDwigнt
    Sep 15, 2014 at 20:16
  • For German speakers, this makes life pretty easy. Because there is a word for everthing, if it is not already there, you simple invent it. Skandalbürgermeister is immediately recognized, even if you never saw this word before. This makes German very precise for this aspect. In some other aspects German is imprecise compared to e.g. English.
    – Dohn Joe
    Sep 15, 2014 at 20:24
  • @DohnJoe - just in time for the upcoming American elections: skandalpolitiker :-P Sep 15, 2014 at 22:48

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