Is there one word for when an archer is drawing back his/her bow ready to fire?

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    Arching, bending, drawing, pulling, readying, stretching, among others. What did your dictionaries and search engines leave unclear? Assuming you're ruling out crossbowmen, are you interested only in traditional British longbowmen, or might people such as Mongol horse archers, with their very different bows, equipment and skills, also qualify? May 12, 2020 at 20:47
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3 Answers 3


To draw a bow:

to bend the bow by drawing the string for discharging the arrow.

(Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary)

Drawing (practice) – The act of pulling the string that is attached to the bow.

(Glossary of archery terms)

  • Yes, that makes the most sense. I will accept this answer May 12, 2020 at 20:38

You describe two different points in time. But the verb is draw, which is weird for you to ask as it is in your sentence. I think you want the past participle "drawn." You could say:

  • The logician's bow is drawn, and her arrow is aimed at the beating heart of his duplicity.
  • some people say, "the arrow is drawn" too
  • Sorry, I am new to this forum also, i made some silly mistakes thx for pointing out May 12, 2020 at 21:50
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    "Drawn" is not the past tense of "draw". It is the past participle. The past tense is "drew". May 12, 2020 at 22:02
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    @IsabelArcher Upvoted your comment just because of the relevancy of your name
    – Kevin
    May 13, 2020 at 16:13

You can say that the archer stretches his bow.

  • Slapping the Table in Amazement: A Ming Dynasty Story Collection Once assured that the coast was clear, he stretched his bow and let fly an arrow.

  • Roman de Rou Having stretched his bow, he shot, but his arrow slipped to one side, brushed a tree and was diverted, striking the king and knocking him down dead.

  • Pueblo Survivors: A Family's Journey Hiding behind fellow fighters, Corran stretched his bow and let the arrow fly. Black Eagle saw it coming as if in a flash and threw himself to the ground.

  • The Parterre but Charles opposed the claim with some ill-humour; when Henry drew back a few steps, stretched his bow, and held an arrow pointed towards the breast ...

  • A Journey In Southern Siberia: The Mongols, Their Religion He stretched his bow and the arrow flew straight to Gesir, went in under one of his armpits and out under the other.

  • Bobcat The two men at the ropes on the rims' three-foot wide top were talking quietly, and when one man stepped to go around and behind his partner, Bobcat stretched his bow. His arrow took the kneeling man hard and high in the chest.

  • History of the Wars: Books 5-6 (Gothic War) But when the Goths came near the moat, the general first of all stretched his bow and with a lucky aim hit in the neck and killed one of the men in armour who were leading the army on.

  • 1
    That works also. But I liked @Hachi's comment better. Drawing May 12, 2020 at 20:37
  • No you can't, stretching a bow is a specific term for partially bending a bow repeatedly in order to warm it up, so is specifically different from drawing the bow in preparation for shooting.
    – MikeB
    May 13, 2020 at 11:34
  • @MikeBrockington It happens that it is also used as a synonym for "drawing". I've provided a few examples, most if not all from recent literature.
    – LPH
    May 13, 2020 at 13:27
  • Your examples show stretched being miss-used by people who don't know the correct terms, and by those using poetic licence.
    – MikeB
    May 14, 2020 at 11:16
  • @MikeBrockington There are many more instances of this usage and I couldn't quote them all; moreover none of them is issued from a poem (fiction or history). Whatever might think some users of the language, there is no doubt that a new usage has come into being and the non prescriptive norm is such that the importance of this usage is enough for it to be reckoned with. I'll draw also your attention on this comment: english.stackexchange.com/questions/534086/…
    – LPH
    May 15, 2020 at 13:59

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