ar·​row | \ ˈer-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce arrow (audio) , ˈa-(ˌ)rō \
plural arrows

Definition of arrow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a missile shot from a bow and usually having a slender shaft, a pointed head, and feathers at the butt
2 : something shaped like an arrow especially : a mark (as on a map or signboard) to indicate direction
3 : a painful or damaging experience or occurrence that is likened to being shot with an arrow … to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune …— William Shakespeare


arrowed; arrowing; arrows

Definition of arrow (Entry 2 of 2)

1a intransitive : to move fast and straight like an arrow in flight Just below us, a hunting peregrine falcon arrowed across the sere fields …— Tom Mueller
b transitive : to hit or throw (something) toward a target fast and straight like an arrow Mia Hamm … doesn't even look up as she arrows a pass to her teammate with almost telepathic confidence.— David Hirshey
2 transitive, chiefly US : to shoot (an animal) with an arrow In the spring, only boy turkeys can be shot or arrowed.— Fred LeBrun

Illustration of arrow

Illustration of arrow


arrow 1

In the meaning defined above

Examples of arrow in a Sentence

Noun The arrow on the map points north.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Me, with blood coming out of my mouth and an arrow through my neck. Clark Collis,, "Kevin Bacon: My life in horror, from Friday the 13th to You Should Have Left," 17 June 2020 From your Twitter profile on the web, click the downward arrow next to any of your tweets, then choose Delete. David Nield, Wired, "How to Clean Up Your Old Social Media Posts," 14 June 2020 This represents the earliest evidence of bow and arrow technology outside of Africa to date. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Early humans used bows and arrows to hunt in tropical rainforests 48,000 years ago, study says," 12 June 2020 But by at least 64,000 years ago, people in Africa had invented a deadly new way to hunt: the bow and arrow. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "South Asia now has the oldest evidence of bows and arrows outside Africa," 12 June 2020 The spout of the coffeepot marks the bow and arrow and the dipper shape forms his body. Dean Regas,, "Things to look for in the night sky this summer 🌌," 10 June 2020 Depending on the day’s atmospheric pressure, the arrow will rise and fall. Rebecca Renner, National Geographic, "Don’t let children just watch the weather—have them create it instead.," 10 June 2020 At home in his bed, Clay sees the V with an arrow through it symbol on his ceiling. Martha Sorren,, "13 Reasons Why," 8 June 2020 An ex-con is accused of threatening George Floyd protesters in Salt Lake City with a bow and arrow. Robert Gearty, Fox News, "Man who pulled bow and arrow on Salt Lake City George Floyd protesters facing charges," 6 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Residents at Windsor Ridge in Jeffersonville are using Nerf guns and bow and arrow sets, miniature dart boards, a bowling set, remote-control cars and more during the pandemic to pass time. David J. Kim, The Courier-Journal, "Indiana nursing homes 'prepare for the worst' with residents more vulnerable to COVID-19," 31 Mar. 2020 However, the crowning moment was without doubt his third of the night, Messi parting Real like the red sea and arrowing a fierce shot beyond Iker Casillas., "Lionel Messi: His 32 Greatest Moments on His 32nd Birthday," 24 June 2019 The Pope & Young Club world-record brown bear—shown here squabbling with a bald eagle that has stolen his breakfast—was arrowed in 2018 by the owner of Brush Country Studios, Chris Cammack. Ralph P. Stuart, Outdoor Life, "13 Amazing Animal Mounts," 6 Mar. 2020 On December 3rd, Strong arrowed a 5-½-year-old buck that grossed 152 inches. Scott Bestul, Field & Stream, "The Best Bucks of December 2019," 7 Jan. 2020 Picking up possession midway inside the Man Utd half, the Madrid number 11 took a few strides forward, shifted the ball onto his right foot, and unleashed a vicious effort which somehow curled, dipped and arrowed past Barthez., "Ronaldo: Looking Back at 6 of he Brazilian's Most Iconic Moments on His Birthday," 18 Sep. 2019 Most players bring their own handcrafted two-piece sticks inside cases akin to arrow quiver bags., "In Malden, a billiards champion and his pool hall rack up a fervent following - The Boston Globe," 7 Nov. 2019 The ball fell to Rodri and the Spaniard arrowed it into the bottom corner from far out..., "Twitter Explodes as Norwich Stun Manchester City at Carrow Road," 14 Sep. 2019 After an eventful stretch—that included becoming a father and dealing with a vexing injury—Fritz is back in the top 75 and arrowing upward. Jon Wertheim,, "40 Parting Thoughts from the 2018 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells," 18 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arrow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of arrow


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for arrow


Middle English arwe, from Old English; akin to Goth arhwazna arrow, Latin arcus bow, arch, arc

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Time Traveler for arrow

Time Traveler

The first known use of arrow was before the 12th century

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Statistics for arrow

Last Updated

23 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Arrow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for arrow


How to pronounce arrow (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of arrow

: a weapon that is made to be shot from a bow and that is usually a stick with a point at one end and feathers at the other end
: a mark (such as →) that is shaped like an arrow and that is used to show direction


ar·​row | \ ˈer-ō How to pronounce arrow (audio) \

Kids Definition of arrow

1 : a weapon that is shot from a bow and is usually a stick with a point at one end and feathers at the other
2 : a mark to show direction Follow the arrows on the signs.

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More from Merriam-Webster on arrow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for arrow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with arrow

Spanish Central: Translation of arrow

Nglish: Translation of arrow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of arrow for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about arrow

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