Definition of arrow in English:



  • 1A weapon consisting of a thin, straight stick with a sharp point, designed to be shot from a bow.

    ‘I've never used a bow and arrow’
    ‘the road continues straight as an arrow’
    • ‘She redirected her aim and let the arrow fly in the direction of the animal.’
    • ‘Koreans on the river banks, aware that the officials had not returned, shot arrows and threw stones in protest.’
    • ‘They stood in the trenches, weapons unsheathed and arrows nocked on bows.’
    • ‘Hundreds of arrows were stuck into the ground in front of the archers as they took up positions at the rear defensive line.’
    • ‘There were already numerous arrows flying in both directions with soldiers falling on both sides.’
    • ‘Feathers at the end of the arrow kept its path straight after its release from the bow.’
    • ‘The Sultan's army was primarily light cavalry armed with crossbows that shot poisoned arrows.’
    • ‘Viking warriors commonly used bows and arrows, as well as other missile weapons such as throwing-spears and axes.’
    • ‘They took five shotguns, a longbow, arrows, a crossbow and bolts.’
    • ‘Then one of then pulled out a crossbow and shot arrows above my head.’
    • ‘To get the correct arrow length, use a long arrow and draw the bow to full draw.’
    • ‘Imagine an archery target with two arrows sticking in the very centre of it.’
    • ‘Archery is like darts, except that the arrows are launched, not by hand, but by a recurve bow.’
    • ‘They were carrying all sorts of weapons, including arrows, swords and axes.’
    • ‘It felt as if there was one of Cupid's magical love arrows sticking straight out of my heart.’
    • ‘Lykopis heard the hissing of an arrow and saw the man fall, the same arrow sticking out his neck.’
    • ‘He was dead, on the floor, with an arrow sticking out of his neck.’
    shaft, bolt, dart
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A mark or sign resembling an arrow, used to show direction or position.
      ‘we followed a series of arrows’
      • ‘I have marked with black arrows the direction in which they could have walked to the spot they eventually stole the cab from.’
      • ‘Inferred genes are indicated by arrows, indicating direction of transcription.’
      • ‘At end of track, go through gate and straight ahead in the direction of red arrow waymark.’
      • ‘Double arrows mark epidermal adaxial surface at site of angiospermy.’
      • ‘The pieces are set up as shown on the drawing and moved in the directions indicated by the arrows.’
      • ‘Just a few minutes into our trek to Amsterdam we mistakenly followed the way one sign was facing instead of the direction of the arrow on it.’
      • ‘Taking this to mean there would be an emergency phone, I set off walking along the highway in the direction of the arrow.’
      • ‘The top arrow indicates the direction of increasing density within the gradient.’
      • ‘Block arrows indicate the direction of transcription in this and all other figures.’
      • ‘Within each feature set you can navigate with the tab key and the arrow keys.’
      • ‘Small posts with arrows indicate the direction of the nearest phone.’
      • ‘Now imagine the piece of wood in the diagram spinning in the direction of the arrows.’
      • ‘On the back of the flyer, Lam drew a map of the area with dates and names and arrows pointing in various directions.’
      • ‘The way this site has developed means that Kingsclere does not begin right at the junction, hence the arrow on our sign.’
      • ‘There wasn't any indication towards where they were going at all, no signs or pointing neon arrows.’
      • ‘For instance, one could assume that the arrows illustrated wind direction or speed.’
      • ‘Continue for a quarter of a mile along the edge of the ridge until a yellow arrow waymarker indicates a path leading down to a house on the left alongside a wall.’
      • ‘Yellow paint lines, arrows and numbers mark the sidewalks where five people died under a Dublin bus last week.’
      • ‘I'm sure by now you all know about the full screen menu you get when pressing the arrow keys on your DSTV remote.’
      • ‘Pressing any of the arrow keys turns the cursor into a resize cursor, and moves it to the relevant edge of the window.’
      pointer, indicator, marker, needle, hand, index
      View synonyms


  • Move or appear to move swiftly and directly.

    ‘lights arrowed down into the airport’
    • ‘From the distant night streaks of fire appeared, arrowing down onto the palace rooftop.’
    • ‘His conversion five minutes earlier had come from virtually exactly the same spot on the right touchline, and had arrowed between the posts.’
    • ‘A long throw from Bailey arrowed on to the head of the giant Ben Futcher loitering on the penalty spot.’
    • ‘Somewhere in the forest, an owl arrowed down to catch a mouse.’
    • ‘With the ball arrowing towards the top corner, Dudek gets a finger-tip to it.’
    • ‘He was hardly back on his feet again when he had to claw out a Sara header arrowed at the base of his left-hand post.’
    • ‘And once again his shot was true, arrowing past the despairing McKenzie.’
    • ‘A corner was worked short by Quinton Fortune, the South African international, and Beckham sent the ball arrowing into the area.’
    • ‘Then he saw Collingwood's throw arrowing in towards the wicketkeeper, and his stride quickened.’
    • ‘Just as the ball appeared to be arrowing into the top corner of the net, Colgan palmed the ball behind to safety.’
    • ‘This time the striker didn't need any assistance with his superb 25-yard shot arrowing into the top corner.’
    • ‘Colgan's kick was flicked on by Lehmann and the ball arrowed into a channel between Oueifio and Greg Strong.’
    • ‘It was travelling at more than 140 mph as it arrowed along the 1.9 miles of tarmac at Elvington Airfield, near York.’
    • ‘Midway through the second half a kick which might have won the game was cruelly whipped to the left of the upright, having spent most of its trajectory arrowing right between them.’
    • ‘The beam arrowed down and rent the landscape in two.’
    • ‘Another shows a diver's slender body arrowing into a pool at an exact vertical, her fingertips just breaking the surface of the water.’
    • ‘The flick header from the centre half was arrowing for the bottom corner but Achterberg managed to bat it down and then won the scramble with Wetherall to cling on to the skipper's close-range prod from the rebound.’
    • ‘The kingfisher came arrowing along the shoreline, saw the heron, and made a screeching halt in midair.’
    • ‘At the other end, Magdalen always looked the more likely to get the next goal with Chris Woodcock arrowing a long range effort wide and Jones spurning a good chance.’
    • ‘Gallagher equalised in the 47th minute with a improvised over-head kick then two minutes later it was 4-3 as Morgan tricked his way past a couple of challenges before arrowing a shot past Wayne Henderson.’


  • arrow of time (or time's arrow)

    • The direction of travel from past to future in time considered as a physical dimension.

      • ‘The recognition of these patterns of eclipses in the archives then would have allowed them to reverse the arrow of time, and project the cycles into the future.’
      • ‘It's not a method of somehow reversing the arrow of time.’
      • ‘If the thermodynamic arrow of time [for periods much shorter than Poincare's recurrence time] is to be explained by entropy increase, as Boltzmann hoped, then we want to know why entropy was so low in the past.’
      • ‘Some recent changes have been of the kind that make you wish time's arrow could be less relentless.’
      • ‘In physics, a question which often bothers theoreticians is the origin of an arrow of time.’
      • ‘The circles of periodicity are really spirals, stretched out along the arrow of time that flies only in one direction, and sooner or later brings down every creature.’
      • ‘After all, to play most sports, even at the level of the village green or recreational field, is to be reminded ceaselessly of time's arrow: of the ruthless, inexorable, uni-directionality of our lives.’
      • ‘There was a conference on Wheeler Feynman electrodynamics and the arrow of time, in 1963.’
      • ‘In the late twentieth century, an arrow of time may have been discovered at the subatomic level.’
      • ‘In other words, in the microworld, there is no intrinsic arrow of time, distinguishing the future from the past.’
      • ‘In whichever direction a writer shoots time's arrow, though, the bowstring is human nature, a relative constant.’
      • ‘So in the physics department we have classes on the arrow of time, quantum mechanics for everyone.’
      • ‘There are at least two other branches of physical theory in which raise the question of the arrow of time, as it is sometimes called.’
      • ‘I learned something about the psychological arrow of time from David Albert.’
      • ‘The idea that time's arrow is unidirectional is really an observation.’
      • ‘Follow the giant arrow of time from the origin of the universe, through the creation of stars, planets, human life, modern culture and beyond into the future.’
      • ‘I'm still at NYU, giving a seminar this afternoon on inflation and the arrow of time.’


Old English arewe, arwe, from Old Norse.