Definition of nock in US English:



  • 1A notch at either end of a bow for holding the string.

    • ‘Serving the string is the process of rolling the bowstring in other thread to protect it around those areas where it receives most wear, namely around both bow nocks and where the arrow nock rests on the string.’
    • ‘Using a skilful flick of her thumb she looped the flex into the nock on the end of the bow, then released the bent shape so it jumped out of the ground.’
    • ‘Often nocks would be reinforced by cutting a slot at right angles to the nock and inserting a short section of horn or bone.’
    • ‘Slip the loop of the bowstring over the nock and down the limb of the bow and tie the free end of the string to the other nock using a timber hitch, bowline or similar non-stressing knot.’
    1. 1.1 A notch at the back end of an arrow into which the bowstring fits.
      • ‘Usually two are used, one either side of the arrow nock.’
      • ‘The orientation of the fletches in relation to the nock must suit the type of arrow rest used.’
      • ‘A forked nock suitable for trackless crossbows can be made by enlarging the fork of a plastic arrow nock with a file or a heated metal rod to fit around the larger diameter of crossbow bowstrings.’
      • ‘The index finger is placed above the arrow nock and the second and third fingers are placed below the arrow nock.’
      • ‘To put new fletching and a new nock on an arrow runs the customer about $2.50, Julio said.’


[with object]
  • Fit (an arrow) to the bowstring ready for shooting.

    ‘I was shaking and had trouble getting the arrow nocked’
    • ‘The archers nocked their arrows and pulled back their bows.’
    • ‘Cynthia and Melody stand a slight way away, already nocking new arrows.’
    • ‘Once an archer downed a target, he nocked an arrow while relocating to another firing site.’
    • ‘Slowly, he took his own long bow from his back and nocked an arrow, pointed at the ground.’
    • ‘Dropping the water skin, he stood up rapidly and took out his bow, nocking an arrow rapidly, aiming for the direction of the voices.’


Late Middle English: perhaps from Middle Dutch nocke ‘point, tip’.