Middle English Dictionary Entry

bǒuen v.(1)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) To bow, kneel, or prostrate oneself; bow to (sb.), kneel or prostrate oneself before; of the head or knee: bend down in reverence; ~ on kne, to kneel; ~ to fot, fall at the feet of (sb.); ~ doun(ward), ~ into (unto) the erthe; (b) ~ to, to bow to (sb.), kneel or prostrate oneself before; (c) to bend or lower (part of one's body), esp. in reverence or humility; bow (one's head, face, neck, breast, limbs); (d) refl. to bow oneself; bow, kneel, or prostrate oneself (to sb.).
(a) To be submissive, be obedient; ben bouwing, ben bouwen, be humble or submissive; ~ til the deth, be obedient when obedience means death; (b) to submit to (sb.), acknowledge (sb.) as one's lord or superior, obey; obey (a command, etc.); (c) ~ to (til, toward, until, unto), to submit to (sb.), be yielding or submissive toward, obey; acknowledge (sb.) as God or as ruler; (d) ~ to (til, until, unto), to submit to (sth.), obey (a command), bow to (someone's will), follow (advice), accede to (a prayer, a request), accept (poverty); ~ to honde, submit to (someone's) authority; ~ to ileve, accept the faith, be converted; ~ to the bowes, submit to the yoke (of a plow); ~ to yoke, bow to (someone's) yoke, accept (sb.) as ruler; (e) ~ herte, to bow (one's) heart, be meek or obedient; pay attention (to words of wickedness); ~ lif, submit one's life, surrender control of one's life; (f) refl. to submit, obey; submit (to baptism, etc.); be given (to the use of women, i.e. to fornication).
(a) To fall, descend, lie down; ~ to ground (the erthe), drop or fall to the ground; (b) fig. to decline, perish, be ruined; cease, pass away, come to an end; fall away from righteousness, be unfaithful in friendship, fail; -- often with awei or doun; (c) fig. to cast (sth.) down, overthrow, overcome, ruin, subdue; bring (sth.) to an end.
(a) To bend, curve; ~ (a)doun, bend down, lean over, stoop; fig. stoop (to unworthy conduct); (b) ppl. bouwing, bent, curving; (c) ppl. bouwing, flexible; (d) in proverbs: bettre is to ~ than bresten, it is better to bend than to break, better to yield than be destroyed; bettre ~ than fallen, etc.
(a) To bend (sth.), put a bend or curve in (sth.); turn or twist (one's body), bend (one's back or neck), flex (the knee); ~ armes, ?wring one's hands; (b) ppl. bouwed, bent, curved, crooked, flexed; bent into a circular shape; (c) refl. to bend oneself, stoop, fall down.
(a) To change direction or position, turn; be turned or facing (toward sth.); of the eyes: be looking (in a certain direction); ~ aside, turn aside, turn away; (b) fig. to incline (toward sth.), have a tendency (to sth.); bouwing to drienesse (lenenesse), tending toward dryness (leanness); -- usually with to; (c) fig. to turn away; ~ from (fro, awei fro, doun fro), desert (sb.), give up (sth.), cease from (doing sth.), abandon, avoid, reject.
(a) To turn (sth.), change the course or direction of; ~ bisties, turn (one's) course or steps; ~ pathes, direct (someone's) path or course; (b) ~ awei eien, to turn away (one's) eyes, refuse to look; ~ awei (doun) eres, turn away (one's) ears, refuse to listen; ~ doun thin ere, bend down your ear, condescend to listen; ~ the eres, turn the ears, give ear, listen; ~ thin ere(s), turn your ear (s), give ear (to sth.), listen; (c) fig. to bend (sb. to one's will), train or direct (sb.); turn (a fool away from insulting words); influence (sb. to do sth.); guide (the heart, will, understanding, etc., in a certain direction); incline (sb. to a certain color), give (sb.) a tendency (toward blackness, etc.).
(a) To come, go; ~ after, follow (sb.); ~ togeder(es, go together or in company, come together or join forces; ~ toyenes, go toward (sb.), go to meet; (b) ~ to, to go to (a place), come to, approach (sth.); ~ a, go to (a place); ~ into, go into, enter; ~ toward, go toward (sth.), travel toward (a place); (c) ~ forth, to go forth, go out, depart; ~ from, . ~ fro, go away from (sth.), depart from (sb.), leave (a place), flee from; ~ of, ~ oute of, go out of (a place), get out of (bed); ~ henne, go hence; (d) comen ~, to come walking [cp. comen ganging]; (e) to send or put (sth.); intend or attempt (evil, wickedness) to, unto, or ayenes (sb.); give (faith, blessing) to or til (sb.); ~ from (fro)..to (into), put or send (sth.) from (one place) into (another); ~ oute, send forth (sth.), utter (speech, a word), make known; (f) refl. to betake oneself, go, come.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • (a1382) WBible(1) (Bod 959)Gen.24.14 : Bow doun [L inclina] þi waterpott þat I drynke.
  • Note: New form: Also..bou. (This form already in a quot., but was not included in form section.)
    Note: New phrase: "~ doun, to move (sth.) to a lower position.
    Note: Quot. belongs to sense 5a.(a).
    Note: Context: Gen.24.13 (KJV): "I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the Citie come out to draw water..the damsell to whom I shall say 'Let downe thy pitcher..that I may drinke'..the same be shee that thou hast appointed for thy seruant Isaac..Rebekah came out..with her pitcher vpon her shoulder..and shee went downe to the wel, and filled her pitcher and came vp..and let downe her pitcher upon her hand, and gaue him a drinke."
  • (a1382) WBible(1) (Bod 959)Ex.23.6 : Þou schalt not bow awey [WB(2): bowe; Corp-C: bowe fro treuth; L declinabis] in þe dome of þe pore.
  • Note: Additional quot. for bǒuen v.(1), sense 3.(b)--per JR
  • a1500(a1450) St.Robt.Knares.(Eg 3143)554 : To man bowes all thinges for hys beste.
  • Note: New sense (not covered in entry).
    Note: Gloss: "To happen."--per MJW
    Note: Gloss: Fig. to incline towards a certain state, tend." (Closest in meaning to sense 5b.(c).)--per MLL

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • c1300 SLeg.Edm.Abp.(Hrl 2277)170 : He was byneþe his brech igurd faste ynouʒ Wiþ a strong corde..Þat vneþe he miʒte bye his rug oþer lokie to þe grounde.
  • Note: New form: Also..bie.
    Note: Quot. belongs to sense 4b.(a).
    Note: 'bye his rug'--variant in MS Ashm. 43: 'bowe adoun.' (The quot. with the variant form, however, belongs to sense 4a.(a).)
  • c1300 SLeg.Edm.Abp.(Hrl 2277)171 : Whan he byde him eni þing, his flesch was so ignawe Þat wonder hou he þolede hit to be so todrawe.
    Note: New form: P. bide
    Note: New subsense for sense 4b.(a).
    Note: Gloss: "also, refl. to bend, stoop."
  • (a1382) WBible(1) (Bod 959)3 Kings 22.26 : Þe gretnesse forsoþe of þe watir vessel was of þre owncis & þe lippe of it as þe lippe of a chalis: & as a lef of a lilie to ben aʒeen boowid [alt. from: aparailid] [WB(2): crokid aʒen; L folium repandi lilii], yt contenede two thousend mesuris of þre quartys.
  • Note: New combination and gloss: "ayen bowed, turned up, curved backwards."
    Note: Quot. belongs to sense 4a.(a).
  • (a1382) WBible(1) (Bod 959)Gen.19.2 : I prey ʒou, sirez, bowiþ doun [WB(2): bowʒe; L declinate] into þe house of ʒour child.
  • Note: New phrase: ~ doun into, to enter (a house).
    Note: Quot. belongs to sense 5b.(a).
  • ?c1400(1379) *Treat.Uroscopy (Roy 17.D.1)f.32va (2.3) : Fro þe hynder partie of þe heuede come 2 synowes and gon to þe ouer chauel, & þan forth to þe neþer chauelle, & þere it is eftesones reflecte, i. bowede agayn, to þe ouer chauel.
  • Note: New phrase: bowed ayen.
    Note: Gloss: "bowed ayen, turned back toward."
    Note: Quot. belongs to sense 4.a(a).
Note: The list of variant spellings in the form section is incomplete and needs revision to accord with standards of later volumes of the MED.--all notes per MLL (unless otherwise indicated)