Definition of recurve in English:



[no object]Biology
  • Bend backwards.

    ‘the petals recurve, elevating the flower’
    • ‘In larger specimens they are slightly recurved toward the tip.’
    • ‘The petals may be overlapped, recurved, frilled, crinkled or ruffled.’
    • ‘All teeth as preserved are pointed (there are no evident bicuspid crowns), and slightly recurved posteriorly.’
    • ‘The flowers commonly have more or less recurved petals, and usually face outward or upward (as opposed to drooping).’
    • ‘What she has in her mouth is a set of very long sharp recurved teeth.’


  • A bow that curves forward at the ends, which straighten out under tension when the bow is drawn.

    • ‘After testing a few out, he picked a recurve and strung it.’
    • ‘People were building recurves of different lengths, and when someone would break a bowstring, he often wouldn't be able to find one to fit.’
    • ‘On the wall adjacent to the targets, hung unstrung bows of every kind - longbows, short bows, recurves and compounds, even a crossbow - and beside them hung quivers full of arrows.’
    • ‘The recurve requires less than half the effort of the longbow to draw back the string.’
    • ‘Modern longbows and recurves advance efficient hunting distances another measure.’
    longbow, crossbow
    View synonyms


Late 16th century: from Latin recurvare ‘bend something back’, from re- ‘back’ + curvare ‘to bend’.