Glossary of Archery Terms

Archer's Paradox: The bending and recovery of an arrow after loose from the transfer of energy from the bowstring.

Armguard (also Arm Guard): A stiff material fastened to the inner side and wrist of the bow arm to protect the arm from the blow of the string. Also called a bracer.

Arrow: Missile or projectile to be shot from bow with a blunt or sharp front end, usually feathered on the rear end.

Arrow Pass: The spot above the grip where the arrow passes the bow.

Arrow Plate: Material placed in or on the arrow pass to prevent wear from the chafing of the arrow.

Arrowhead (also Arrow Head): The striking (i.e., front) end of an arrow, usually made of steel, stone, wood, or bone.

Arrow Rest: A piece of material -- leather, wood, horn, or metal -- attached to a bow to set the arrow upon instead of the hand.

Arrow Shaft: The main body of the arrow; usually made from wood, metal, or carbon composite. Also knows as the Stele.

Arrowsmith (also Arrow Smith): The maker of metal arrowheads, sometimes confused with the Fletcher.

Arrow Straightener: An item used to remove bends from the arrow shaft. This item has been made since Paleolithic times, usually of bone, stone, or -- in modern times -- metal. An arrow straightener is generally flat with a hole in one end to accept the arrow shaft.

Ascham: A locker or cabinet for bows, arrows, and other archer-related items. Pronounced "ask-am."

Back: The side of the bow away from the string.

Backed Bow: A bow whose back is a separate piece from the belly, added to.

Backing: Material that the back of the bow is made from. Backings are generally wood, sinew, fiberglass, or other material used to strengthen the back of the bow.

Back Quiver: A quiver that is worn on the shooter's back with the arrows to be reached above the right or left shoulder.

Barb: A point that reaches backward on an arrowhead to prevent extraction.

Barreled Arrow: An arrow thickest in the center, tapering towards both ends.

Belly: The side of the bow closest to the string.

Belt Quiver: A quiver worn hanging from a belt, generally for target shooting.

Billet: A short bow stave of length for only one limb, usually formed in the handle to make a stave. Billets are usually sold in pairs.

Blunt: A flat point used when penetration is not an issue such as roving or small game hunting.

Bobtail Arrow: An arrow decreasing in thickness from point to nock.

Bow Arm: The arm that holds the bow; the bow arm is the left arm for a right-handed shooter and the right arm for a left-handed shooter.

Bow Sight: Any device placed on the bow by which an archer can aim at the mark.

Bow Stave: A cut piece of wood from which to make a bow.

Bow Tip: The ends of a bow; where the bow string attached to the bow.

Bow Weight: The poundage of a bow required to pull it back to a set draw.

Boyer: Someone who makes bows.

Brace: To string a bow in preparation to shoot.

Brace Height: The distance from a point on the bow, generally the belly of the handle to the string.

Bracer: See Armguard.

Breast: The portion of the arrow about 6 to 7 inches from the nock.

Breasted Arrow: An arrow thickest at the breast, tapering toward the ends.

Broadhead (also Broad Head): A sharp, flat arrowhead pointed in the front and having sharp edges.

Bullet Point: An arrow point fashioned like a rifle bullet.

Cast: The velocity which a bow an shoot an arrow.

Center-Shot Bow: A bow with a deep notch or shelf cut into the side of the handle, which brings the arrow to the center of the bow in line with the string when bow is braced.

Chrysal: A line of crushed fibers in the belly of a bow. Pronounced "crissal."

Clothyard Shaft (also Cloth Yard or Cloth-Yard): A 37-inch arrow used in Medieval England.

Cock Feather: The feather at right angles to the nock or string.

Composite Bow: A bow made of two or more pieces to form the limbs of the bow, such as laminations of wood, fiberglass, carbon, horn, or sinew.

Crest: An identifying mark on the arrow of painted rings, generally near the feathers.

Direct Aim: Aim taken by sighting directly at the target not using the tip or a sight.

Draw: The distance from the back of the bow and the string in the act of shooting or pulling the bow.

Drawing Hand: The hand that pulls the string; right hand for a right-handed shooter, left hand for a left-handed shooter.

Fistmele: The depth of a fist with the thumb stuck out. Generally 6 to 7 inches. Used to measure brace height.

Flatbow (also Flat Bow): A bow with flat, wide limbs and a rounded handle. Also "flat bow."

Fletch: To install feathers.

Fletcher: A person who fletches arrows. An arrow maker (also written arrowmaker or arrow-maker).

Flight Arrow: An arrow designed to shoot distance.

Flight Bow: A bow designed to shoot the greatest distance for its weight.

Footing: A piece of hardwood spliced to be the fore part of an arrow shaft.

Glove: Used to protect fingers from bowstring.

Hen Feathers: The two feathers twoard the bow or string when arrow is placed on string.

Indirect Aim: Aim taken by not looking at the target and using a point of aim.

Laminated: Composed of three or more layers; usually of bows, sometimes arrows.

Longbow (also Long Bow): A bow on which, when strung, the string does not come into contact with the limb upon leaving the string grooves.

Loose: The act of letting go the bowstring from full draw.

Mark: Target at which an arrow is shot.

Nock: The slot in the end of an arrow to receive the string. Also, the act of placing the arrow on the string.

Nocked: The state of the arrow being positioned on the string.

Nocking Point: The marked place on the string where an arrow should be nocked.

Overbowed (or Over Bowed): Using a bow that is too strong for the archer.

Parallel Arrow: An arrow that is the same diameter the full length of the shaft.

Pile: A socketed arrow point without cutting edges.

Pin: A tiny knot in wood appearing on the surface as a dark spot.

Pluck: To release the string and arrow with a jerk or snap of fingers.

Point: Arrowhead

Point of Aim: The place or thing at which an archer sights the tip of his arrow in order to hit the mark.

Quiver: An item used to hold arrows. A back quiver is worn on back of archer, a belt quiver hangs from the waist, and a bow quiver mounts directly on the bow.

Range: (1) The distance to the target. (2) A place for bow shooting.

Release: See "Loose."

Self Bow (or Selfbow): A bow made of one piece of wood.

Serving: Thread wrapped around string to protect string from abrasion.

Serving Tool: A tool used to apply the thread evenly to the bowstring.

Set: A permanent bend in a bow; also called String Follow.

Shaft: The body of the arrow.

Sight: Any device placed on bow or string used to aim by placing it on the mark.

Snap Shot: Shooting with a quick pluck.

Spliced Bow: A bow made from billets joined by a splice in the middle of one limb joined to the middle of the other limb.

Stave: See "Bow Stave."

String: A bowstring, generally 3 to 4 inches shorter than the bow.

Stringer: Device used to easily and safely string or brace a bow.

String Follow: See "Set."

Tab: Flat piece of leather to protect the strawing fingers.

Take-Down Bow (also Takedown or Take Down): A bow joined usually by bolts, sleeve, or hinge, that the parts may be separated after unstringing.

Tong or Tongue: The shank of some arrowheads, such as Trade Points, to be inserted into the arrow shaft.

Target Arrow: An arrow with a target or field point used for target shooting. Generally lighter than hunting arrows.

Target Bow: Any bow used for target shooting. Generally of lighter poundage than hunting bows. 

Tiller: To balance bow limbs at all heights and to correct the curvature of a bow limb.

Torque: A turning force or movement applied to the handle or limb of a bow.

Toxology: The study of the bow or archery-related items.

Toxophilite: A lover of archery.

Trade Point: A flat blade with a flat shank to slide into a slot in the arrow shaft. The name comes from the points Europeans trade to Native Americans for furs; generally cut from barrel bands.

Vane: An arrow "feather" can in modern times be made of plastic.

Whip End: A bow that bends to much on the ends; poor tiller.

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