Glossary of archery terms

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This is a list of archery terms, including both the equipment and the practice. A brief description for each word or phrase is also included.


  • anchor point – A point to be touched by the draw hand or string when the bow is fully drawn and ready to shoot, usually a point on the archer's mouth, chin or nose
  • AMO (organization) – The Archery Manufacturers and Merchants Organization (now known as the Archery Trade Association, or ATA)
  • AMO length (measure) – A standardized length for measuring bow strings
  • arbalest – A late variation of the crossbow that came into use in Europe during the 12th century
  • archer (practitioner) – One who practices archery (a.k.a. bowman)
  • archer's paradox (effect) – The effect produced by an arrow flexing as it leaves the bow
  • archery (practice) – The practice of using a bow to shoot arrows
  • arm guard (equipment) – A protective strap or sheath for an archer's forearm (a.k.a. bracer)
  • arrow (equipment) – A shafted projectile that is shot with a bow
  • arrowhead (equipment) – The front end of an arrow; also known as the head, point or tip
  • arrow rest (equipment) – A device used to hold an arrow against a handle until it is released
  • ATA (organization) – The Archery Trade Association (formerly known as the Archery Manufacturers and Merchants Organization, or AMO)
  • A.T.A. (measure) – Acronym for axle-to-axle, the length between the two pivotal axles which hold the cams onto the limbs on a compound bow
  • ASA — Archery Shooters Association


  • bodkin point (equipment) – A sharp, pointed arrow head
  • bolt (equipment) – A crossbow projectile; also called a quarrel
  • boss (equipment) – A target, typically made from tightly compacted foam or straw
  • bowman (practitioner) – One who practices archery (a.k.a. archer)
  • bow (equipment) – An ancient weapon powered by elasticity, used for hunting and sport
  • bowfishing (practice) – The use of archery equipment for catching fish
  • bowhunting (practice) – The practice of hunting game using archery
  • bow string (equipment) – A fiber joining two ends of a bow for launching arrows
  • bowyer (craftsman) – One who makes bows
  • bracing (practice) – The act of attaching a bow string to a bow
  • brace height (measure) – The distance from the string to the pivot point of the bow's grip
  • bracer (equipment) – A protective strap or sheath for an archer's forearm (a.k.a. arm guard)
  • broadhead (equipment) – A sharp-bladed hunting head
  • bullseye (equipment) – The central area of a target, often for which a greater number of points may be scored when hit
  • butts (location) – A practice field with mounds of earth used as targets
  • button (equipment) – An adjustable spring-loaded contact for the arrow as it sits on the rest, mounted perpendicular to the arrow


  • clicker (equipment) – A device used to indicate an archer's optimum draw length
  • clout archery (practice) – A form of archery in which archers shoot arrows toward a flag (known as the clout) from a relatively long distance and are scored based on how close each arrow lands to the flag
  • cock feather (equipment) – A differently-colored fletch that indicates proper arrow alignment on the string (a.k.a. index feather)
  • composite bow (equipment) – A bow made from various laminated materials
  • compound bow (equipment) – A modern bow that uses a system of cables and pulleys
  • crest (equipment) – Heraldic markings on an arrow used for identification or design
  • crossbow (equipment) – A bow mounted on a stock, which shoots projectiles called bolts or quarrels
  • crown (equipment) – The nock end of an arrow where cresting and paints are applied


  • daikyu (equipment) – A Japanese longbow
  • decurve bow (equipment) – A form of bow in which the unstrung tips curve toward the archer
  • deflex bow (equipment) – A form of bow in which the entire length of the handle and limbs curve toward the archer
  • drawing (practice) – The act of pulling the string that is attached to the bow
  • draw length (measure) – Archer: individual measure. At full draw the distance in inches from nock point on bow string to deepest grip spot (pivot-point) plus 1+34 inches (44 mm) (AMO standard). Bow: characteristic measure of the bow together with its draw weight. The technically given optimal draw length for full draw of that bow (AMO standard). Draw weight of a bow means weight at its draw length.
  • draw weight (measure) – The number of pounds of force required to draw a bow to its draw length
  • dry loosing (practice) – Refers to the loosing of the string of a bow without an arrow on the nock, potentially damaging the bow


  • end (practice) – A round of arrows shot during an archery event (rarely more than six)[1]
  • English longbow (equipment) – A powerful medieval bow; also known as the Welsh longbow


  • field archery (practice) – Shooting at targets of unmarked distances in an open field
  • field tip (equipment) – A practice head for targets
  • finger tab (equipment) – A small leather patch to protect the archer's fingers
  • fistmele (measure) – The proper distance between the handle of a bow and the bow string when the bow is strung (a.k.a. brace height)
  • flatbow (equipment) – A non-recurved bow with a rectangular cross section
  • fletching (equipment) – The stabilizing fins or vanes of an arrow
  • fletcher (craftsman) – One who makes arrows
  • flex (measure) – The amount of bend an arrow shaft provides; contrasted with spine
  • flu-flu arrow (equipment) – A specially designed short-range arrow
  • footed arrow (equipment) – An arrow with a shaft composed of two types of wood


  • gungdo (practice) – The Korean practice of archery


Fletching showing index feather (a.k.a. cock feather – green) and hen feathers (pink)
  • hankyu (equipment) – A short Japanese bow
  • head (equipment) – The front end of an arrow; also known as the arrowhead, point or tip
  • helical fletching (description) – Description of a fletch placed so that it forms an arc with respect to the arrow's center axis. Can additionally be described as "left" or "right" helical, indicating the direction of the arc as one travels down the fletch toward the arrow point, and by the number of degrees offset from the axis of symmetry.
  • hen feather (equipment) – Name given to the shaft feathers based on misunderstanding of cock (leading) feather
  • horse archer (practitioner) – An archer mounted on a horse
  • horse archery (practice) – Archery mounted on a horse
  • hybrid (equipment) – A term to describe the combination of a recurve and a longbow, also known as "reflex-deflex"


  • IBO – International Bowhunting Organization, an American organization that promotes bowhunting and sanctions 3-D archery competitions. Also the creator of the most widely used standard for measuring bow speeds.
  • index fletching (equipment) – A differently-colored fletch that indicates proper arrow alignment (a.k.a. cock fletching)


  • judo point (equipment) – A target and small-game head equipped with spring wires for easy location


  • kisser (equipment) – A button used to indicate consistent vertical distance when drawing a bow
  • kyūdō (practice) – The Japanese practice of archery


  • longbow (equipment) – A tall wooden bow with a D shaped cross-section, approximately the same height as the archer, without significant recurve
  • loose (practice) – The act of shooting an arrow from a bow (a.k.a. release)
  • laminated bow (equipment) – A bow with different materials laminated together to make a single bow
  • limbs (equipment) – The upper and lower arms of a bow
  • longrod (equipment) – Rod attached to the bow to dampen vibrations



  • nock (equipment) – The notch at the rear end of an arrow; also the notches at the ends of the bow limbs to which the bowstring is attached, or looped over
  • nock (practice) – The act of setting an arrow in a bow
  • nocking point (equipment) – The point on a bow string over which an arrow nock is placed


  • offset fletching (description) – Description of a fletch placed at an angle with respect to the arrow's center axis, but along as straight a line as the curvature of the arrow allows. Contrast with helical fletching.
  • overdraw (practice) – The use of a device, e.g. a siper, to allow the shooting of arrows shorter than the draw of the bow
  • overdrawn (measure) – A condition in which a bow string is too short for the bow; fistmele is exceeded


  • plunger or pressure button (equipment) – A device used to correct an arrow's flex at the point of release
  • point (equipment) – The front end of an arrow; also known as the arrowhead, head or tip


  • quarrel (equipment) – A crossbow projectile; also called a bolt
  • quiver (equipment) – A container for an archer's projectiles (arrows)


  • recurve bow (equipment) – A form of bow in which the unstrung tips curve away from the archer
  • reflex bow (equipment) – A form of bow in which the entire length of the handle and arms curve away from the archer
  • release (practice) – The act of relaxing the fingers of the drawing hand (see Bow draw) to free an arrow from a bow (a.k.a. loose)
  • release — a small handheld object that can be clipped to a bowstring and releases when a trigger is pressed
  • rest (equipment) – A device used to hold the arrow against the handle until it is released
  • riser (equipment) – The handle section of a bow
  • Robin Hood (verb) – Slang term for splitting an arrow embedded in a target with another arrow.
  • run archery (practice) – Shooting discipline connecting archery with running


  • safety arrow (equipment) – An arrow with a wide tip or padded head, often used for reenactments
  • self bow (equipment) – A bow made from a single piece of material (normally wood)
  • serving (equipment) – Extra thread wound around a bow string in order to support or protect the main fiber
  • shaft (equipment) – The main structural element of an arrow
  • shaftment (equipment) – Part of the arrow upon which the fletchings lie
  • shaft feathers (equipment) – The two feathers which oppose the cock feather
  • shedao (practice) – The Chinese and Taiwanese practice of archery
  • shooting glove (equipment) – Protective gear for an archer's fingers
  • siper (equipment) – An overdraw device used in Turkish archery
  • spine (measure) – The stiffness of an arrow shaft; contrasted with flex
  • stabiliser (equipment) – A weighted rod or set of rods used to provide balance to a bow
  • stave (equipment) – A strip of wood from which a bow may be made
  • straight fletching (description) – Description of a fletch placed directly along an arrow's axis of symmetry.
  • string (action) – The action of putting the bow in tension


  • tab (equipment) – A small leather patch to protect the archer's fingers
  • target archery (practice) – Shooting at non-moving targets placed varying distances away
  • target panic (condition) – Set of symptoms developed for psychological reasons resulting in lowered accuracy
  • target point (equipment) – Bullet-shaped practice head, used for targets
  • target shooting (practice) – Competitive event that uses projectile weapons for tests of proficiency
  • thumb ring (equipment) – Protective ring for an archer's thumb
  • tip (equipment) – Either (especially the top) end of the bow, as differentiated from the point of an arrow
  • tong-ah (equipment) – An overdraw device used in traditional Korean archery, similar to the Turkish majra


  • upshot – The last shot in an archery contest


  • vane (equipment) – The stabilizing fin of an arrow


  • wand shoot (practice) – An archery event in which arrows are shot at a slat of soft wood that is typically six feet tall and two inches wide[2]
  • Welsh longbow (equipment) – A powerful medieval bow; also known as an English longbow


  • X ring (equipment) – In some competitions, a smaller target ring at the center of the bullseye which (depending on the competition rules) will award the highest possible score, or be used as a tiebreaker. For example, in The Vegas Shoot, a well-known American target archery competition, the highest possible score in the 90-arrow championship round would be "900/90X", representing all 90 arrows hitting the X ring.


  • ya (equipment) – An asymmetric Japanese arrow
  • yabusame (practice) – A type of mounted archery practiced in Japan
  • yew (material) – A type of wood traditionally used to make bows[3]
  • yumi (equipment) – An asymmetric Japanese bow; includes both long and short varieties (daikyu and hankyu)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schulyer, Keith C. (1970), Archery, From Golds to Big Game, A. S. Barnes and Co., Inc., ISBN 0-498-06961-3, p. 128
  2. ^ Schulyer, p. 494
  3. ^ Hansard, George Hagar (1841), "Of Yew Trees, Yew Bows, &c, &c", Section VIII, The Book of Archery, The Archery Library