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re·​curve ˈrē-ˌkərv How to pronounce recurve (audio)
plural recurves
: an archery bow with tips that curve away from the string side when the bow is not strung
Primitive bows are simply a stick and string; a recurve adds a curve on each limb of the bow.Will Elliott
often used before another noun
a recurve bow
: a curve in a backward or reverse direction
A number of computer models indicate that the storm may cross the Florida peninsula and enter the Gulf of Mexico … . A recurve to the north into Georgia is a possibility …Pam Knox


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recurved; recurving; recurves

intransitive verb

: to curve or turn in a backward or reverse direction
especially, of a weather disturbance : to reverse the direction of travel by curving back
… it's common for a hurricane like Irma to near the East Coast but then recurve away, after hitting a force field in the form of westerly winds at the upper levels of the atmosphere. Andrew Freedman

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
The Legolas has an embedded recurve bow string and The Sauron contains lava rock. Leto Sapunar, The Salt Lake Tribune, 27 Dec. 2022 Olympic archer's typically compete in Olympic recurve, in which the bows have a few additional pieces. Lauren Hertz, The Arizona Republic, 24 Sep. 2022 Then there are recurve bows with curved tips that create more energy than the longbow. Patrick Cooke, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Nov. 2021 Bennett has since transitioned to the recurve bow, a more traditional style with no pulley system, for the 2012 London, 2016 Rio, and 2020 Tokyo Games. Kamryn Walker, The Arizona Republic, 25 Aug. 2021 Ellison, ranked No. 1 in the world in recurve, dominated the four-stage trials that began in 2019 before the pandemic with 169 total points. Jeff Metcalfe, The Arizona Republic, 1 June 2021 In 2019, Komalika Bari, who was just 17 at the time, became only the second Indian female archer, after Deepika Kumari in 2009, to win gold in the recurve cadet event at the World Archery Youth Championships in Madrid. John Kang, Forbes, 19 Apr. 2021 In Ohio, one of the few states to differentiate crossbow vs. vertical-bow harvest data, crossbow hunters have begun to replace bowhunters in the same way that compound hunters once replaced recurve hunters. Will Brantley, Field & Stream, 17 Mar. 2021 To him, any animal taken with a recurve was an accomplishment. Beka Garris, Outdoor Life, 16 Dec. 2020
Around age 14, when the son switched over to recurve—the style contested in Olympic archery contests that is most emphasized by USA Archery—his intuitive feel for the bow propelled him to podium finishes and earned him an invitation to join the national body’s Junior Dream Team. Laine Higgins, WSJ, 27 Dec. 2021 Earl is forecast to recurve to the east and away from the U.S. Leigh Morgan, al, 4 Sep. 2022 The long-range path suggest Earl could recurve to the north and steer clear of the U.S. Leigh Morgan, al, 2 Sep. 2022 That's because systems that get strong have a greater tendency to recurve out to sea rather than keep moving westward towards the Caribbean. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, 24 Sep. 2021 Expecting the storm to recurve eastward, as most Atlantic tropical storms did, Weather Bureau forecasters in Washington issued warnings to the eastern Gulf Coast, Florida, and southern states on the Atlantic. Daniel Pendick, Discover Magazine, 13 Sep. 2018 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use


1845, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1610, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of recurve was in 1610

Dictionary Entries Near recurve

Cite this Entry

“Recurve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2023.

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