Definition of arrow in English:



  • 1A shaft sharpened at the front and with feathers or vanes at the back, shot from a bow as a weapon or for sport.

    ‘his ability to launch an arrow accurately’
    • ‘The Sultan's army was primarily light cavalry armed with crossbows that shot poisoned arrows.’
    • ‘Hundreds of arrows were stuck into the ground in front of the archers as they took up positions at the rear defensive line.’
    • ‘They were carrying all sorts of weapons, including arrows, swords and axes.’
    • ‘Then one of then pulled out a crossbow and shot arrows above my head.’
    • ‘He was dead, on the floor, with an arrow sticking out of his neck.’
    • ‘Archery is like darts, except that the arrows are launched, not by hand, but by a recurve bow.’
    • ‘There were already numerous arrows flying in both directions with soldiers falling on both sides.’
    • ‘Imagine an archery target with two arrows sticking in the very centre of it.’
    • ‘To get the correct arrow length, use a long arrow and draw the bow to full draw.’
    • ‘Feathers at the end of the arrow kept its path straight after its release from the bow.’
    • ‘Lykopis heard the hissing of an arrow and saw the man fall, the same arrow sticking out his neck.’
    • ‘Koreans on the river banks, aware that the officials had not returned, shot arrows and threw stones in protest.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She redirected her aim and let the arrow fly in the direction of the animal.’
    • ‘They stood in the trenches, weapons unsheathed and arrows nocked on bows.’
    • ‘It felt as if there was one of Cupid's magical love arrows sticking straight out of my heart.’
    shaft, bolt, dart
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A mark or sign resembling an arrow, used to show direction or position; a pointer.
      ‘we drove in the main gate and followed a series of arrows’
      [as modifier] ‘you can use the up and down arrow keys’
      • ‘Inferred genes are indicated by arrows, indicating direction of transcription.’
      • ‘Double arrows mark epidermal adaxial surface at site of angiospermy.’
      • ‘Within each feature set you can navigate with the tab key and the arrow keys.’
      • ‘Pressing any of the arrow keys turns the cursor into a resize cursor, and moves it to the relevant edge of the window.’
      • ‘On the back of the flyer, Lam drew a map of the area with dates and names and arrows pointing in various directions.’
      • ‘Small posts with arrows indicate the direction of the nearest phone.’
      • ‘For instance, one could assume that the arrows illustrated wind direction or speed.’
      • ‘I have marked with black arrows the direction in which they could have walked to the spot they eventually stole the cab from.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There wasn't any indication towards where they were going at all, no signs or pointing neon arrows.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The top arrow indicates the direction of increasing density within the gradient.’
      • ‘The way this site has developed means that Kingsclere does not begin right at the junction, hence the arrow on our sign.’
      • ‘The pieces are set up as shown on the drawing and moved in the directions indicated by the arrows.’
      • ‘At end of track, go through gate and straight ahead in the direction of red arrow waymark.’
      • ‘Taking this to mean there would be an emergency phone, I set off walking along the highway in the direction of the arrow.’
      • ‘I'm sure by now you all know about the full screen menu you get when pressing the arrow keys on your DSTV remote.’
      • ‘Block arrows indicate the direction of transcription in this and all other figures.’
      • ‘Now imagine the piece of wood in the diagram spinning in the direction of the arrows.’
      • ‘Yellow paint lines, arrows and numbers mark the sidewalks where five people died under a Dublin bus last week.’
      pointer, indicator, marker, needle, hand, index
      View synonyms


  • arrow of time (or time's arrow)

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

      • ‘The idea that time's arrow is unidirectional is really an observation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So in the physics department we have classes on the arrow of time, quantum mechanics for everyone.’
      • ‘In physics, a question which often bothers theoreticians is the origin of an arrow of time.’
      • ‘In other words, in the microworld, there is no intrinsic arrow of time, distinguishing the future from the past.’
      • ‘There was a conference on Wheeler Feynman electrodynamics and the arrow of time, in 1963.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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'm still at NYU, giving a seminar this afternoon on inflation and the arrow of time.’
      • ‘I learned something about the psychological arrow of time from David Albert.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In whichever direction a writer shoots time's arrow, though, the bowstring is human nature, a relative constant.’
      • ‘In the late twentieth century, an arrow of time may have been discovered at the subatomic level.’
      • ‘Some recent changes have been of the kind that make you wish time's arrow could be less relentless.’
      • ‘It's not a method of somehow reversing the arrow of time.’
      • ‘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.’
  • straight as an arrow

    • Perfectly straight, with no deviation.

      • ‘It doesn't go right or left or this or that; it just goes straight as an arrow.’
      • ‘There was one perfect crack that was in varying girth, but straight as an arrow.’
      • ‘In Afghanistan, where the roads run straight as an arrow across baking plains, they came across an accident.’
      • ‘Trudy stood straight as an arrow, pure hatred glowing in her face.’
      • ‘The river sliced through the scoop, straight as an arrow, to the precipice, where, with great tumult and crescendo, it dropped into the abyss.’
      • ‘Don's swing was straight as an arrow throughout the backswing, down to the release point.’
      • ‘The road leading down from the hill was straight as an arrow and connected directly to the docks.’
      • ‘Adela Breton, there she is, one of a vanished breed of tough Englishwomen, dressed neatly in the full Edwardian regalia of the day, every hair in place, and spine straight as an arrow!’
      • ‘Kat continued straight as an arrow on her course.’
      • ‘They know the proper streamline is with the head looking down, hands together and the body straight as an arrow, with the head just under the water surface.’
      • ‘He wore his hair short to the skull with a narrow, little part shaved up one side straight as an arrow, and he had a pencil-thin mustache, like Errol Flynn, folds in the back of his neck like fat pleats, and beady black rat eyes.’
      • ‘The giant stood in one place - straight as an arrow and tense as a string on a bow.’
      • ‘Ayako sat down on the plush red couch and sat at attention, her back straight as an arrow.’
      • ‘A track doubles back and angles up Northdale Rigg, straight as an arrow and into the heather.’
      • ‘The rope flew down, straight as an arrow into the stranger's hands.’


Old English arewe, arwe, from Old Norse.