1 of 2


ar·​row ˈer-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce arrow (audio)
plural arrows
: a missile shot from a bow and usually having a slender shaft, a pointed head, and feathers at the butt
: something shaped like an arrow
especially : a mark (as on a map or signboard) to indicate direction
: 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

Illustration of arrow

Illustration of arrow
  • arrow 1


2 of 2


arrowed; arrowing; arrows
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
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
transitive, chiefly US : to shoot (an animal) with an arrow
In the spring, only boy turkeys can be shot or arrowed.Fred LeBrun

Examples of arrow in a Sentence

Noun The arrow on the map points north.
Recent Examples on the Web
Clockwise from left: Freddie’s famed arrow jacket, Queen broach, and mustache comb. Vulture, 7 Sep. 2023 The details are embodied in charts full of boxes and arrows, like the ones in the middle of a scientific paper where only PhDs or dropout geniuses dare to tread. Steven Levy, WIRED, 5 Sep. 2023 By following yellow arrows marking the Camino’s route, Brad Wulf expanded his adventure boundaries and found new enjoyment in simple pleasures. Jeastman, oregonlive, 4 Sep. 2023 There’s a set piece, for instance, in which an actor playing Joel will trigger a series of lighting and sound effects to create the illusion of firing an arrow into an enemy’s chest. Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times, 1 Sep. 2023 In Gmail, click the arrow next to Send, then Schedule send. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, 18 Aug. 2023 In regions where hunters kill spider monkeys using traditional bows and arrows, populations are more likely to be stable. Anna Nordseth, Discover Magazine, 15 Aug. 2023 The Environmental Protection Agency asked the Federal Trade Commission in April to substitute the arrows logo on plastics with solid triangles, a decision that the agency believes could help clear up confusion around labeling. Chang Che,, 7 Aug. 2023 The trailer's tranquil scenes quickly turn threatening as battle action ensues, where players use a bow and arrows to take on RDA forces. Erin Clack, Peoplemag, 28 Aug. 2023
While still relying on the brand's key Flying D logo, the 2023 FX highlights arrow graphics on the frame, meant to indicate the power concentration in the middle of the racket. Tim Newcomb, Forbes, 2 Jan. 2023 Virginia bowhunter Earl Phillips was elated to arrow his biggest buck to date on Nov. 20, a fine 8-point buck…that had no visible male organs. Scott Bestul, Field & Stream, 16 Jan. 2023 According to the researchers, the embryo does not attach to the mother’s uterus and continue growth until the mother switches to arrow bamboo leaves, at which point the calcium intake is the highest. Brenda Poppy, Discover Magazine, 15 July 2014 The Launch's default look is subdued, but the board comes with blue and red Esc and arrow keys for extra pop. Scharon Harding, Ars Technica, 8 Mar. 2022 Kate came to the bow and arrow on her own, though Clint's years of experience are still a benefit. Christian Holub,, 3 Nov. 2021 In Bears Ears -- named for the twin buttes that rise above the landscape -- tourists and looters routinely steal ceramic shards, arrow heads and other remnants of the settlements of the Ancestral Puebloan Indians who lived in the area. Arkansas Online, 9 Oct. 2021 Meanwhile, Katurah plays the help, who is readying weapons, from knives to bow and arrow to guns and RPGs in between skits. Rohan Preston, Star Tribune, 8 July 2021 Video captured McCormick in an argument with some protesters, and showed him getting a bow and arrow out of his car and pointing it at several people. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Nov. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'arrow.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English arwe, arowe, going back to Old English earh (strong noun, probably neuter), arwe, arewe (weak feminine noun), going back to Germanic *arhwō- "arrow," presumably originally an adjectival derivative "belonging to the bow" (whence also Old Icelandic ǫr, genitive ǫrvar "arrow," and, with an additional suffix, Gothic arhwazna), going back to dialectal Indo-European *arkw- "bow," whence also Latin arcus "bow, rainbow, arch"

Note: See the Oxford English Dictionary, third edition, for details of the Old and Middle English developments. The editors point out that earh is a rare poetic word, occurring mainly in the compound earhfaru "flight of arrows," the more usual older words for "arrow" being strǣl and flā; the popularity of arwe in later Old English prose may have resulted from influence of the Old Norse word. — The etymon *arkw- "bow" (*h2erkw- if *a is excluded as a possible vowel) has been compared with various names for plants, as Greek árkeuthos "juniper (Juniperus macrocarpa)," Russian rakíta (for *rokíta by vowel reduction) "the willow Salix fragilis," Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian ràkita "osier (Salix viminalis)" (both from Slavic *orkyta), Latvian ẽrcis "juniper." The presumed connection would be from the use of wood from these small trees as material for bows, though this is questionable (especially in the case of willows). In any case both sets of words appear to be of substratal origin.


derivative of arrow entry 1

First Known Use


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


1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near arrow

Cite this Entry

“Arrow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a weapon that is made to be shot from a bow and is usually a stick with a point at one end and feathers at the other
: a mark (as on a map) to show direction
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!