Bowmen of Skelmersdale

Archery Terms

Anchor point

A consistent reference point of the drawing hand when the bow is at full draw.

The term Reference Point is now more commonly used


A Crossbow man.


A person who shoots a bow and arrow.

Arm Guard

A shield or guard worn inside of the forearm of the bow hand.


A projectile shot from a bow.

Arrow Plate

This is a protector, often inlaid, just above the bow handle, on the side where the arrow passes as it is launched in flight.

Arrow Shelf

A flat horizontal area formed by cutting into the bow just above the bow handle

Arrow Rest

A device on which the arrow rests during the draw, located just above the bow handle.

Archers Paradox

The initial stages of flexing of the arrow from the loose as it accelerates past the bow.


An archers equipment case or locker. Named after Roger Ascham.

Ascham (Roger)

Author of Toxophilus' in 1544. A scribe, tutor and coach to the royal family.

Back (of Bow)

The face of the bow that is on the opposite side to the string.

Barreled Arrow

An arrow that has the greatest cross-section in middle of the arrow and tapering towards both ends.

Bare bow     

A class of shooting that does not permit the use of sights.

Basic Technique

The systematic method of shooting used in teaching and coaching.

Belly (of Bow)

The face of the bow which is on the same side as the string.


Flat headed pile, such as used in Popinjay shooting.

Bobtail Arrow

An arrow that has the greatest cross-section at the pile and tapers toward the nock.


A long tapered arrow pile, normally a square shaped tapering point.
Historically used for piercing Armour


A short arrow for use with a crossbow.

Boss                     Top  

A target, to which the target face is pinned and usually made of compressed straw.


An arrow that hits the target and rebounds from it.

Bow Arm

The arm which corresponds to the bow hand.

Bow Hand

The hand in which the bow is supported.

Bow String

The cord or string which is stretched between the bow nocks when the bow is braced and on which the arrow is placed for shooting.

Bow Stringer

A cord with loops or cups on the ends for holding the bow limbs to assist with bracing the bow

Bow Window

The section of the riser just above the handle which is removed to allow the arrow rest nearer to the centre line of the bow.


A maker of bows

Bowyer's Knot

See ‘Timber Hitch'


The third highest classification of the GNAS


To string the bow


A shield or guard worn inside of the forearm of the bow hand, also known as an Arm Guard.

Bracing Height

A specified distance between the string and a particular point on the bow riser when the bow is braced.


A target/boss which is permanently erected, usually of turf or straw bales.


An adjustable spring loaded contact point for the arrow which is set into the riser adjacent to the arrow rest. Allows fine tuning of arrow flight.


The term used to describe the measured ability of a bow to project an arrow.

Chested Arrow

An arrow that has the greatest cross-section near the front of the fletchings and tapering down to the nock and pile.

Centre Shot

A bow which is designed to allow the arrow to take a position central to the limbs


A system of grading an archer's ability and achievements as described in the GNAS Rules of Shooting


An audible draw length indicator

Clout Shooting

A form of competition derived from medieval military practice which consists of shooting 36 arrows at a flag 180 yards (Gentlemen) or 140 yards (Ladies) away.

Coach                  Top

A tutor or teacher of sporting activities.

Cock Feather

The feather that is at right angles to the slot in the arrow nock, often a different colour to the other fletchings (Shaft Feathers q.v.) on the arrow.

Composite Bow

A bow whose limbs are made-up from several laminate materials glued together.

Compound Bow

A bow with enhanced efficiency by the use of eccentric wheels or cams over which cables are attached to the string.


Allowing the arrow to move forward from full-draw before being loosed.


Bands of colour painted round the arrow for decoration or identification.


A short bow set on a stock, the top edge of the stock being slotted to act as a guide for the bolt (arrow), it discharges the bolt by means of a trigger.


A bow with a slight bend built in during construction for added stability during shooting


Draw-Force-Line A straight, imaginary, line from the point of the drawing arm elbow, through the drawing hand to the pressure point where the bow hand contacts the bow at full draw

Dominant Eye

The eye which is preferred by the archer for aiming, when both eyes are open


To pull the bow string the full length of the arrow, ready to shoot.

Draw Fingers

Normally the first three fingers of the hand, these are used in pulling the string to full draw.

Draw Weight

The force measured in pounds, required to pull the bow to a full draw.


The movement to one side or the other of the arrow in its flight, caused by a cross wind.


The number of arrows used in scoring a particular target event. In most instances, an end is considered to be six arrows.


Warning cry to stop shooting in an emergency


The part of the bow where the non-working part of the riser ends leaving only the working part of the limb.

Field Captain         

Person controlling the shooting along all or part of the shooting range, responsible to the Judge.

Field Shooting

A form of competition derived from hunting.

Finger Tab

A protection worn on the fingers of the string hand, usually made of leather, to protect the fingers and for consistency of release.

Fistmele               Top

This is the distance from the base of the clenched fist to the tip of the thumb. This was used to measure the distance between the string and the inside of the bow at the grip when the bow was braced.


Federation Internationale de Tir a I'Arc. The international governing body for archery.

FITA Standard Bow

A basic take down or one piece bow with wood and/or glassfibre limbs. It can have a simple sight and a non-adjustable rest. The finger protection must exclude any form of stiffening or locating platform. The unbraced bow complete with its accessories must be capable of passing through a hole of 12.2cm (5") diameter.

FITA Standard Arrow An arrow not exceeding the specification of the XX7 or its equivalent.


A special tournament at which an archer may win a FITA star award,these are awarded to archers achieving for the first time a score in the following category -1000 (star), 1100 (star on black shield), 1200 (star on blue shield), 1300 (star on red shield), 1350 (star on gold shield) and 1400 (star on purple shield).

Flemish Twist

A method of interweaving the loops of a bow string , that fit over the limb nocks.


A feather or vane fitted to an arrow to stabilise it in flight.


A collective word to describe the feathers or vanes on an arrow.

Fletching Jig

A device to assist in fletching arrows.

Flight Shooting

Shooting for the longest possible distance.


An arrow that has the fletching either of feather spiralled round the shaft or of a fur material


A hardwood section that is spliced onto the front end of a wooden shaft.

Foot Markers

Small discs, of restricted dimensions, used to mark an archer's foot positions.

Follow Through

The movements which take place in the archer and their equipment as a result of the loose


See 'Olympic Style'


Grand Master Bowman, the highest classification of the GNAS.


Grand National Archery Meeting, the premier English archery tournament since 1844.


The central scoring zone of the target, coloured yellow.


The section of the bow that is held by the bow hand.

Ground Quiver

Used in target archery. This is a rod of about 20 inches in length with a loop at the top. The sharp end is stuck into the ground, then arrows are dropped through the loop, standing ready to be withdrawn as they are used.


A cluster of arrows in a target.


A system of allowances for scores to be adjusted, theoretically bringing archers of varying standards to an equal result

Handle                 Top

The part of a bow that is held in the hand.


A arrow that does not penetrate into the boss but hangs down from the face.


The practice of applying bow hand pressure low on the bow grip.

Hen Feathers

An American term for the shaft feathers (q.v.)


This is a pause by the archer, while at full draw, and is just prior to the release of the arrow.


The person responsible for the application of the rules of shooting at a tournament.


A small disc or other device which is fitted to the string and drawn to the lips at full draw.


The traditional Japanese form of archery.

Lady Paramount

Traditionally appointed to preside at competitions as the supreme arbiter (GNAS rules only) and to present the awards and prizes.


Thin strips of material used for making bow limbs, these being mainly wood, fibreglass, carbon fibre or plastic.


The upper and lower working parts of the bow


The method of drawing and holding (locking) the string at full draw.

Flemish Lock

The use of only the index and second fingers to draw the bow, one above and one below the arrow.

Mediterranean Lock

The use of the first three fingers to draw the bow, the index finger above the arrow with the other two below.

Thumb Lock

The use of the thumb around the string just below the arrow. The thumb is locked in position by closing the index finger round the end of the thumb. The arrow would be on the same side of the bow as the hand that is drawing the string.


A traditional English bow, of Welsh design. Usually was fashioned of a single piece of wood though now some laminations are used. It gained its reputation during the middle ages.


The result of releasing the string.


Any target at which the bow is intentionally aimed.


Master Bowman, the second highest classification of the GNAS


See 'Lock'.

Mono Filament

Single thread or strand, normally used to refer to single strand serving thread.


National Coaching Committee.


National Coaching Foundation.


National Coaching Organiser.

Nock                    Top

1    The slot in the end of an arrow which is used for locating it onto the bow string.

2   The grooves at the end of the bow limbs into which is fitted the string.

3   To locate the arrow nock onto the string.This is the place on the bow string where the nock of the arrow rests.

Olympic Style

This was known as the 'Free-Style', which is using the recurve bow with the use of a sight, draw length check, pressure button and stabilisers being permitted.


This term is used to indicate the instance where the draw weight of the bow is more than the individual archer can draw and shoot with any degree of comfort and efficiency.


1    To draw the pile of the arrow beyond the arrow rest.

2   A device fitted to a bow, particularly a compound bow, permitting the arrow rest to be fitted inside of the

bow so that shorter arrows can be used.

Perfect End

To obtain a maximum score for an end of six arrows.


The outer edge of a target for which there is no score.


This is also spelled 'pyle' in old English references. It is the metal tip attached to the head of the arrow shaft: the arrow point. It comes from the Anglo-Saxon term meaning dart which is 'pil'.


Gripping the nock of the arrow between the fingers, when drawing.


The exact centre of the target; also known as the Spider, and usually marked with a small cross.

Point of Aim

This is the point or object at which the archer aims, when they sight over the tip of the arrow. It is also the method of shooting where the arrow is drawn back to the side of the face rather than to the bottom of the jaw line.


Colloquial term for a long-rod stabiliser.


A form of archery similar to Popinjay but with only a single 'bird' as a target and set at the top of a tower. As still practised by the Ancient Society of Kilwinning Archers, founded in 1483.


Shooting at artificial birds arranged on an array of perches set on top of a 90 foot mast.

Practice Bow

A bow of simple design and light draw weight, usually used for teaching beginners.


The balanced pre-draw position of the archer. Sometimes related specifically to the relative positions of the bow hand, drawing arm and arrow.

Pressure Button

See 'Button'.


The size and shape varies considerably, but this is a holder for arrows so they may be transported ready for quick use. The quiver may be slung over the shoulder on the back, hung from the waist, or of special designs attached to the bow.

RCC                     Top

Regional Coaching Committee.


Regional Coaching Organiser.


The curvature of the bow limb bends away, from the archer, from the straight line at the ends of the limbs.

Reference Point

The place where the arrow drawing hand positions itself on the face. It is usually under the chin or along the side of the jaw bone. It used to be known as the Anchor Point.

Release Aid

This is a device that is as old as archery, but recently has been re- introduced in sundry forms. It is used to draw and release the bowstring without the fingers actually doing the work. Mainly used with compound bows in the unlimited class.


The rigid centre section of a bow onto which the working limbs are joined.


The designated number of arrows shot at a given distance or standardised series of distances.


A form of shooting in open country where the archer shooting nearest to the mark will select the next mark, and so on.

Self Arrow

An arrow made entirely of one piece of wood.

Self Bow

A bow made entirely of one piece of wood.


The thread which is wound round the bow string at the nocking points which protects the string from normal wear and tear.

Serving Tool

Small instrument used for serving strings.


See 'Arrow'.

Shaft Arm

The arm used to draw the bow.

Shaft Feathers

The two feathers that lie next to the bow, as opposed to the Cock Feather (q.v.) that is at right angles to the nock.

Shaft Hand

The hand used to draw the bow.


The section at the rear of the shaft to which the fletchings are attached.


A crack running with the grain in a bow stave.

Shooting Line

The line the archer stands astride when shooting.

Shooting Glove

A partial glove with three fingers used to protect the fingers when shooting


Those arrows which are allowed to be shot at the start of a competition for the benefit of sight adjustment, prior to the commencement of scoring.


Extension which is fitted to a bow to enable a short arrow to be used. Normally for Flight shooting.

Skirt                     Top

See 'Petticoat'.


Used to restrain the bow from jumping out of the hand when shooting with a relaxed bow hand.

Spectator Line

A line 15 yards behind the shooting line.


The bending quality of an arrow that allows it to spring out as it passes the bow on being shot, then return to its original straightness, when in free flight. AMO standard - is the amount of bend in thousandths of an inch when the arrow is placed on two points 28 inches apart with a weight of 880 grams hung in the centre of the arrow.


Weights which are used to add mass to the bow to slow movement during the time taken for the arrow to clear the bow.


A relative steep increase in draw weight per extra unit of draw length towards the end of the draw.

Stacked Bow

A bow in which the thickness of the limbs is a little greater than the width; this type of bow is usually oval in cross-section.


A stick or staff of timber prior to it being fashioned into a bow or arrow shaft.


The main part of a crossbow which is held by the arbalist and to which all other parts are connected, such as the bow, trigger and sight.


Bow string.

Endless String

Made from one length of 'thread' wound on a former with the two thread ends knotted under one of the end servings which forms the loops at the ends of the string.

Flemish String

Made from as many pieces as there are strands in the string. These are twisted to form a rope and then laid back into themselves, without the use of knots, to form either a loop and plain end or two loops.


See 'Finger Tab'.


A collective word to describe an archers equipment.

Take Down

The type of bow that the limbs can be removed for transportation or even to change the draw weight of the bow by changing the limbs.

Target Captain

The person in charge of the conduct of the archers at the target, particularly when recording scores.

Target Day

A club shoot officially planned and publicised within the club.

Target Face

A cover marked with the scoring zones, placed over the target boss.
Usually made of a reinforced paper.

Target Lieutenant

Assistant to the Target Captain.

Target Stand

A stand supporting the Boss.

TFC                      Top

Torque Flight Compensator. A flexible coupling used between the bow and stabiliser, the amount of flexibility can be adjusted to suit the archer.

Thumb Lock

See 'Lock'

Thumb Ring

A protective device made from horn, ivory, wood or some other suitable material for archers shooting with a 'thumb lock'.


1    The Bowyer's manufacturing process used to balance the forces which are applied by the limbs of the bow when strung or being drawn.

2   A comparison of the measurements taken from the fade-out to the string at each end of the riser. It is normal for the bottom measurement to be the smaller by approximately 3 mm.

Timber Hitch

The knot which is normally used to form the second loop on a string which has been manufactured with one loop, i.e. long-bow string.


A turning force applied to the bow at full draw.


A student of archery.


Title of the first book to teach the art of archery, written by Roger Ascham - published in 1544.

Traditional Aiming

A shooting method of drawing the arrow back to a position where the holding hand is placed under the jaw bone, either using a side or a front reference point


The curved flight of the arrow caused by the effect of gravity whist the arrow is in flight.


The situation where an archer has a bow that is too light in draw weight.


Not to draw sufficient arrow length.

Unit Aiming

Maintaining the relationship of the arms, head and shoulders by adjusting the aiming from the waist.


The plastic fletch of an arrow.

Waiting Line

A line 5 yards behind the shooting line, where archers wait while others are shooting. On metric rounds this would be 5 meters.


A piece of wood, 6 feet long and 2 inches wide which is driven into the ground and serves as a shooting mark. Traditional ancient shooting of 'splitting the wand'.


Bee's wax is normally used to seal a bow string, thus retaining the correct level of moisture within the threads. It also binds the threads together.


Description of a bow of which the limbs are too weak in the tip area


The wood from which English long-bows are traditionally made.


A form of meditation practiced by masters of Kyudo and other Japanese martial arts.