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 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 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
  • hybrid (equipment) – A term to describe the combination of a recurve and a longbow, also known as "reflex-deflex"
  • head (equipment) – The front end of an arrow; also known as the arrowhead, point or tip
  • 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 mounting on a horse


  • 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


  • majra (equipment) – An overdraw device used in Turkish archery
  • mounted archer (practitioner) – An archer mounted on a horse
  • mounted archery (practice) – Archery while mounted on a horse
  • Mongolian draw (practice) – The act of drawing a bow with the thumb


  • 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


  • 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
  • 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
  • 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


  • 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