Archery Terms



Here you can find the meanings of archery terms.

"A" archery terms

Adapter - An arrow part that allows for screw in points on wooden shafts or for glue on points for aluminum shafts.

Aluminum- Used in modern archery for making arrows; Also in the production of wheels and cams as well as the risers on some modern compound bows.

Anchor Point- Definite spot on the archers body, normally the face, on which string and index finger come to rest.This should be the same point for each shot.

AMO (organization)- The Archery Manufacturers and Merchants Organization (now known as the ATA)

AMO length (measurement)- A standardized length for measuring bow strings.

Archer- One who practices Archery (a.k.a. bowman)

Archer's paradox- The effect produced by an arrow flexing as it leaves the bow.

Archery- The practice of using a bow to shoot arrows.

Arm guard- A protective strap or sheath for an archer's forearm.

Arrow- The projectile in Archery.

Arrow shaft- The part of the arrow without a nock, fletching, or point installed. Can be made of wood, aluminum or carbon, or a combination of two such as aluminum and carbon, in a carbon/alloy arrow.

Arrow shelf- In traditional archery it is a notch in the riser or the top of the archer's hand, where the arrow sits.

Arrow straighter-A tool used to straighten arrow shafts.

Arrowhead- The front end of an arrow; also known as the head, point or tip.

Arrow rest- A device used to hold the arrow against the handle or riser until it is released.

ASA (organization)- Archery Shooters Association

ATA (organization) - The Archery Trade Association (formerly known as the AMO).

A.T.A (measurement) - An acronym for "Axle-To-Axle", the length between the two pivotal axles which hold the cams or wheels onto the limbs on a compound bow.

"B" archery terms

Back- The side of the bow that faces away from the bowstring.

Barebow- Shooting without a bow sight, stabilizers and release aid.

Bare shaft- A arrow shaft without fletching, used to tune a bow.

Belly- The side of the bow that faces the bow string; Today it is called the 'face'.

Blunt- An unsharpened arrowhead used for targets and small game. Designed not to let the arrow penetrate a target, but rather bounce off. Made from steel, aluminum, rubber, or brass.

Bolt- A crossbow projectile; also called a quarrel.

Boss- A target, usually made from tightly compacted foam or straw.

Bow arm- The arm that holds the bow.

Bow hand- The hand that holds the bow.

Bowfishing- The use of archery equipment for catching fish.

Bowhunting- The practice of taking game using archery.

Bow sight- A mechanical device attached to the bow that an archer uses to aim at the target.

Bow sling- A leather or nylon strap, fastened to either the bow or the archer's hand, used to prevent the bow from falling to the ground when the archer shoots without gripping the bow.

Bow string- A multi stranded string of either Dacron, Kevlar or Fastflight looped to the bow nocks or teardrops.

Bow stringer- Cord with two leather pockets that are different sizes used to string a recurve bow.

Bow stave- A piece of wood used to make a bow.

Bow square- T-Shaped device used to measure brace height, nocking point location and tiller.

Bowyer- someone who makes bows.

Brace height- Shortest distance from the string to the pivot point of the bow when strung;in traditional archery called Fistmele.

Bracer- Usually used to describe the leather arm guard used in traditional archery.

Broadhead- A sharp-bladed hunting head.

"C" archery terms

Cables- The plastic covered steel cables or fastflight string material that connect the string via the cams or wheels to the opposite limb of a compound bow.

Cam- The pulley on the end of compound bow's limb used to provide let-off and power. They are elliptical shaped.

Cant- To hold the bow to the right or left while at full draw. Right or left cant is determined by the position of the top limb.

Carbon fiber- Used in modern archery for the production of arrows and in some cases bow limbs.

Cast- The distance a bow can project an arrow.

Center serving- The protective winding on the center of the string where the arrows are nocked.

Centershot bow- A bow with the riser cut out past the bow's center line.

Clicker- A device used to indicate an archer is at their optimum draw length.

Clout shoot- An archery game where arrows are shot at an arc toward a 15 meter diameter target laid out flat on the ground at distances of up to 180 meters.

Cock feather- A differently-colored fletch that indicates proper arrow alignment; also referred to as an Index feather.

Composite bow- A bow made from laminating multiple layers of varying materials together.

Compound bow- A modern bow that uses a system of cables and pulleys to gain leverage and reduce holding draw weight.

Crown dip- A color applied to the nock end of an arrow shaft, usually about 12 inches long, by dipping to which the cresting is applied.

Creep- Letting the arrow move slightly forward before the release; not maintaining full draw. Usually caused by the loss of shoulder and/or back muscle tension.

Crest- Markings on an arrow used for identification or design.

Crossbow- A bow mounted on a stock, resembling a rifle, that shoots bolts or Quarrels.

"D" archery terms

Dacron- A synthetic material used to make bowstrings.

Daikyu- A Japanese longbow.

Dead release- A release where the drawing hand remains at the anchor point after releasing the bow string; No follow through of the drawing hand.

Decurve bow- A bow where the unstrung tips curve toward the archer.

Deflex bow- A form of bow in which the entire length of the handle and arms curve toward the archer.

Die cut feather- A feather that has been cut to a particular shape using a cutting dye.

Director of Shooting- The official in charge of an archery tournament.

Draw check- A device fitted to a compound bow so the archer can maintain a consistent draw length.

Draw weight- The number of pounds of force required to draw a bow twenty-eight 28" inches in traditional archery; The maximum number or pounds of force required, often adjustable, to draw a modern compound bow before it lets-off.

Drawing- The act of pulling an arrow and bow string in preparation of shooting.

Drawing hand- The hand that draws the bow string back to the anchor point.

Draw length- The distance, measured in inches, from the pivot point of the bow to the slot in the arrow nock when at full draw.

"E" archery terms

End- A round of arrows shot during an archery event, usually 3 to 6 arrows.

English longbow- A powerful medieval bow; also known as the Welsh longbow.

"f" archery terms

Face- The side of the bow that faces the bow string. Historically it was called the belly.

FastFlight- A synthetic material used to make bowstrings.Breaking strain = 95 lbs./strand. Minimal stretch ensures consistency. It is a slippery material that requires specific serving to be used in conjunction with it.

FastFlight S4- A composite of Polyester 'Spectra' (FastFlight) and 'Vectran' materials used to make bowstrings.Breaking strain = 160 lbs./strand. Due to its strength, less strands are required to make a bowstring, so its lighter and faster.

Fiberglass- Used in modern archery equipment for the production of both bows and arrows.

Field archery- Shooting at targets of unmarked distances in an open field.

Field captain- The official in charge of an archery tournament.

Field tip- A practice head for targets or small game hunting.

Finger pinch- When your finger is pinched against the nock or arrow by the bow string when pulling the string back.

Finger Tab- A small leather patch to protect the archer's fingers. Also called a Tab.

Fistmele- The proper distance between the handle of a bow and the bow string when the bow is strung.

Flatbow- A non-recurved bow with a rectangular cross section.

Flax-linen- A natural material bowstring, used in medieval times and now used on re-enactment longbows.

Flemish string- A twisted string that consists of two separate bundles of string, normally two different colors, hand twisted together.

Fletching- The stabilizing fins or vanes of an arrow,each individual fin is called a fletch.

Fletching jig- A device used to hold the arrow shaft in place and correctly locate and align the application of the fletching.

Fletching clamp- The part of a fletching jig that clamps the fletch as it is being attached or glued to the arrow shaft.

Fletcher- The person that makes and attaches fletching for arrows.

Fletch-tite- A clear glue used to apply fletching and nocks to the arrow shaft. It sets quickly and remains slightly elastic (not brittle) to resist repeated shock and vibration.

Flex- The amount of "bend" an arrow shaft provides; contrasted with Spine.

Flight Arrow- An arrow used in Flight Shooting. Usually very light and very stiff and fitted with very small fletching to reduce wind drag.

Flight Bow- A very strong bow specifically made for flight shooting. Draw weight can exceed 100 lbs.

Flight shooting- A form of archery designed around attaining the longest distance able to be shot with a bow.

Flinching- Moving the bow arm and/or drawing hand just before the release.

Flipper rest- An elevated rest attached to the riser of the bow. It flips out of the way of the fletching when the arrow moves forward after being released.

Flu-Flu Arrow- A specially designed short-range arrow. Usually has very large fletching.

Follow through- Movement, or lack of movement, of the drawing hand/arm and bow arm after the release.

Footed arrow- An arrow with a shaft made of two types of wood.

Foot markers- Lines, golf tees, stacks or other devices that indicate the archer's foot positions at the shooting line.

Free style- A method of shooting using a bow-sight to aid the archer in aiming.

FreezeInability to move the sight to the desired position while at full draw, or inability to release.

Full draw- The position of the archer when the bow string has been drawn and the drawing hand is at the anchor point.

"G" archery terms

Glove- Protective gear for an archer's fingers, often referred to as a shooting glove.

Grip- To hold the bow, used in reference to holding the bow, too tightly; The handle of the bow held by the archer.

Ground quiver- A device, generally metal, pushed into the ground to hold arrows and/or bow.

Group- The pattern of arrows in the target.

Gungdo- The Korean art of archery.

"H" archery terms

Handle- The center part of the bow, not including the limbs.

Hankyu- A short Japanese bow.

Heel- Exerting pressure with the heel of the bow hand on the lower part of the grip during the shot.

Hen feather- One of two like-colored vanes on an arrow, they are not the index feather.

Horse archer- An archer mounted on a horse.

"I" archery terms

Index fletch- A differently-colored fletch used for proper arrow alignment. Commonly referred to as a Cock fletch or Cock feather.

Insert- An arrow part that accepts the screw in point or the nock.

IBO (organization)- International Bowhunting Organization. Former name of the ATA (The Archery Trade Association).

"J" archery terms

Judo points- A target and small-game head equipped with spring wires for easy location.

"K" archery terms

Kevlar- As an archery term is a synthetic material used to make bowstrings. Very strong and light material, but has no stretch, which causes more shock to the limb tips. Some bows cannot use Kevlar bowstrings.Limited life-span of this material when used for bowstrings as it will break due to repeated bending.

Kisser- A button used to aid in locating your anchor point,giving the archer a consistent vertical distance when drawing a bow. Almost always used with the lips, and also called a kisser button.

Kyudo- The Japanese art of archery.

Kyudo arrows- Traditional arrows used in Kyudo Archery.These arrows are over 1 meter, 40" inches, in length and fletched with traditional feathers.

Kyudo Bow- A Japanese longbow, approx. 2 meters, 79" inches, in length. The "grip" is about one third the distance from the bottom tip of the bow. The bowstring is drawn using a shooting glove fitted with a thumb groove for the string to sit in. The drawing hand is pulled back until over the rear shoulder and the bowstring is released by relaxing the thumb, allowing the bowstring to slip out of the groove.

"L" archery terms

Laminated bow- A bow made of several layers of different material glued together, usually two layers of fiberglass with a hardwood core.

Launcher rest- A style of arrow rest used on compound bows. Can be a one-piece flat metal prong with a "v" groove for the arrow to rest in or can be two round metal prongs set apart to accommodate the size of the arrow.

Left-handed archer- An archer who holds the bow in the right hand and draws with the left hand to bring the arrow back to the left dominant eye.

Left-handed bow- A bow with the sight window cut out on the right hand side when viewed from the string side, face, of the bow.

Let-off- The reduction in draw weight of a compound bow, when pulled to full draw.

Level- A small level, usually located in the bow sights, to indicate when the bow is being held vertical.

Limbs- The energy storing, bending or flexing, parts of the bow above and below the riser.

Limb Dampeners- A "mushroom" shaped rubber form attached to the limbs of a bow to reduce the vibrations in the limbs after the release.

Limb Pocket- A recessed slot in the top and bottom of the riser, shaped to fit the ends of the bow limbs and maintain correct limb alignment.

Limb Twist- A failure in the bow limb where the bow tip turns away from aligning with the bowstring.

Longbow- A tall bow without a significant recurve. Considered to be the true Traditional archery bow.

Loop- The woven or served looped ends of the bowstring that fit in the bow nocks or teardrops when the bow is strung.

Loose- The act of shooting an arrow from a bow. commonly called Release.

"M" archery terms

Mass weight- The actual weight of the bow.

Mechanical broadhead- A broadhead with two or more blades,that open on impact, usually used for hunting.

Mechanical Release- An aid used to grip the string and then release it. Often called a Release aid or simply Release.

Mounted archer- An archer mounted on a horse

Mongolian draw- Drawing a bow with one's thumb. Also called a Mongolian release.

"N" archery terms

Nock- The notch at the rear end of an arrow; The act of setting an arrow in to the bow, "to nock an arrow".

Nocking pliers- Special pliers used to install or remove brass string nock sets.

Nocking point- The point on a bow string where the arrow is nocked.

Nock set- A small brass attachment added to the string to mark the nocking point.

"O" archery terms

Overdrawn- As an archery term is a condition in which a bow string is too short for the bow; fistmele is exceeded.

"P" archery terms

Parabolic fletch- A feather or vane that has a rounded shape to the back, nock, end.

Peak Weight- The maximum draw weight of a compound bow. Adjustable on modern compound bows.

Peep sight- Also known as string peep. An aperture in a small round piece of plastic or metal which is set between the strands of the string above the nocking point to sight through in line with the bow sight for aiming a compound bow.

Pivot point- Normally the physical center of the bow.

Pluck- Pulling the string away from the face in any other direction upon release, an incorrect follow-through. "plucking the string".

Plunger button- A device used to correct an arrow's flex at the point of release.

Point- The front end of an arrow; also known as the arrowhead, head or tip.

"Q" archery terms

Quarrel- A crossbow projectile; also called a bolt.

Quiver- A container for arrows. It may be attached to the bow, placed on a belt, or carried on your shoulder or back as well as placed on the ground.

"R" archery terms

Recurve bow- A form of bow in which the unstrung tips curve away from the archer.

Reflex bow- A form of bow in which the entire length of the handle and limbs curve away from the archer.

Release- The act of firing an arrow from a bow; Letting go of the string. Sometimes called Loose.

Release aid- A mechanical device for releasing an arrow.

Rest- A device used to hold the arrow against the handle until it is released; An Arrow rest.

Right-handed archer- An archer who holds the bow in the left hand and draws with the right hand to bring the arrow to the right dominant eye.

Right-handed bow- A bow with the sight window cut out on the left hand side when viewed from the string side, face, of the bow.

Riser- The handle section of a Bow.

Robin-Hood- An archer of legend who lived in Sherwood Forest; A term given to two arrows shot end to end, the second arrow embedded into the rear of the first. Happens rarely, so the arrows are usually kept as a trophy.

Round- The shooting of a definite number of arrows at specified target faces from set distances.

"S" archery terms

Safety arrow- Arrow with Wide tip or padded head , used for reenactments.

Scope sight- A bow sight with a magnifying lens.

Self bow- A bow made from a single piece of material, normally wood, and homemade.

Serving- Extra thread wound around a bow string in order to support the main fiber. Usually in the center of the string, where it will be gripped, and also at the loop ends.

Serving jig- A device that holds the serving thread and maintains consistent tension as the thread is wrapped around the bowstring.

Shaft- The main structural element of an arrow. Can be made of wood, aluminum, carbon or a combination.

Shooting glove- Protective gear for an archer's fingers.

Shooting line- A line parallel to and a specific distance away from the targets from which all archers shoot.

Sight block- The movable part of the sight which holds the sight pin, aperture or scope.

Sight window- The cut out section of the bow above the grip.

Sling- Strap fastened to either the bow or the archer's wrist or index finger and thumb, to prevent the bow from falling when shooting with a relaxed bow hand.

Snap shooting- Releasing the arrow without pausing to aim carefully. Common for Instinctive shooting.

Spine- The stiffness of an arrow shaft; contrasted with Flex. Must be matched to the archers set-up.

Stabilizer- A weighted rod or set of rods used to provide balance to a bow.

Stacking- A characteristic of bow performance where the force/draw curve rises more rapidly over the final part of the draw.

Stance- The position of the feet and body when addressing the target.

Stave- A strip of wood that a bow may be made from.

String- A cord used to shoot a bow; To put the bow string on a bow in the proper position for shooting.

String jig- An adjustable frame used to make bowstrings.

Stringer- A device used to aid in the stringing of a bow.

String alignment- The placement of the string when at full draw in relation to the bow sight or the bow.

String angle- The angle formed by the string at the nocking point when at full draw. also called pinch angle.

String fingers- The fingers used to draw back the bow string.

String hand- Drawing hand, the hand used to pull the bowstring.

String height- Brace height or fistmele.

"T" archery terms

Tab- A small leather patch to protect the archer's fingers. Often called a Finger tab.

Tackle- An inclusive term for archery equipment.

Tackle line- A line, set behind the shooting line, behind which is placed all such equipment which is not used during shooting. also called an equipment line.

Take-down bow- A bow which can be taken apart, the limbs can be detached from the riser, for ease of traveling, storage and limb replacement.

Taper Tool- A tool used to taper wooden shafts for the nock and point.

Target- General term for the intended destination of a shot arrow.

Target archery- Shooting at non-moving targets placed varying distances.

Target captain- The person who decides who is to call the value of each arrow, record the scores and draw the arrows from the target.

Target face- The paper which is attached to the butt and indicates the scoring areas.

Target Panic- A mental condition causing a loss of control in shooting form. Symptoms can include; aim freezing, snap shooting, flinching and trigger punching.

Target point- Bullet-shaped practice head for targets. Also called a target tip.

Target shooting- Competitive event or practice that tests the archer's proficiency.

Thumb ring- Protective ring for an archer's thumb. Common in Asian archery.

Tiller- To shape the limbs of an unfinished bow for even bending. The reaction of the limbs whereby the nock ends propel the arrow in a straight line by moving an equal distance in equal time to return to brace height by means of the various stresses in the top and bottom limbs with compensation for the bowhand pressure below and the arrow axis/center line above the center of gravity of the bow.

Tip- The front end of an arrow; also known as the arrowhead or point.

Torque- Any rotation or twisting motion of the bow in the horizontal plane.

Toxophilite- A devotee of archery.

Trigger- The mechanism in a crossbow to release the bowstring. To release the bowstring using a release aid.

Tune- To adjust the arrow rest, pressure button, string height and nocking point height to achieve good arrow flight out of the bow.

"U" archery terms

Ultralite- A model of aluminum arrow made by "Easton".

"V" archery terms

Vane- The stabilizing fin of an arrow. Usually referring to a plastic fletch.

V-bar- A short extender fitted between the riser and long stabilizer that allows two short stabilizers to be added as a counter balance to the long stabilizer. Helps resist twisting reactions from the bow hand.

"W" archery terms

Wand shoot- An archery event in which arrows are shot at a slat of soft wood that is typically 6' tall and 2" wide.

Welsh longbow- A powerful medieval bow; also known as the English longbow.

Windage- The adjustment of the bow sight or the pin on the bow sight to allow for the wind deflecting the arrow.

Windlass- A medieval device to pull the bowstring back on a crossbow.

Wood- The earliest material used for the construction of bows and arrows.

"X" archery terms

X7- A model of aluminum arrow made by "Easton".

XX75- A model of aluminum arrow made by "Easton".

X10- A model of aluminum/carbon arrow made by "Easton".

"Y" archery terms

Yabusame- A type of mounted archery practiced in Japan.

Yew- A type of wood,European evergreen tree, traditionally used to make bows.

Yumi- An asymmetric Japanese bow; includes both long and short varieties (daikyu and hankyu).

Yarn tassel- A large tuft of yarn that is used to wipe mud and dirt from arrows.

"Z" archery terms



This archery terms page will be updated from time to time as new products make a need for additional archery terms or if any archery terms not listed are found.



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