Glossary – Updated for the 2nd Edition 2/25/10
Aiming – Method of directing an arrow toward its
AMO – Archery Manufacturers’ Organization. Governing body setting standards for the
archery industry. Name recently changed to ATA (Archery Trade Association).
Anchor – 1. (noun) Place on the archer’s face where his drawing hand contacts and locks in
at full draw. A “reference point” is also where part of the drawing hand touches the archer’s
face, but does not lock in as the anchor does. 2. (verb) To reach full-draw and lock the hand
into a defined position on the face.
Aperture – Literally a “hole”. Type of sight where the archer centers his target in a circular
Archer’s Paradox – The bending of an arrow around the riser, due to its offset from center
shot and the string roll around the finger tips as it’s being fired.
Arc – The path of an arrow in flight, technically a “parabolic arc”.
Archer – Someone skilled in the use of a bow and arrow. Note the word “skilled”.
Archery – The skill of shooting a bow and arrow.
Arm-guard – Leather or plastic shield used to protect the forearm of the bow arm from
occasional string slaps.
Arrow – Projectile to be launched from a bow.
Arrow rest – Device added to the bow above the shelf to support the arrow during the draw,
at anchor, and during the first few inches of flight.
Arrow shelf – Flat or radiused part of the riser, perpendicular to the long axis of the riser.
May be covered with leather or similar material to act as an arrow rest.
Arrowhead – The pointy end of the arrow. The part of the arrow that defines its purpose.
ATA – See “AMO”.
B-50 – Dacron bowstring material made by Brownell. B-500 is the same material, but made
Back (of bow) – Part of the bow that faces away from the archer.
Backstop – Area or material behind the target capable of stopping errant arrows.
Back Tension – Term describing the force maintained against the bow and bow string by the
deep back muscles while at anchor and after the shot.
Ballooning – Separation of the strands of a bowstring during the shot. Usually an indication
of insufficient twists and/or wax.
Barebow – Shooting a bow without sighting devices attached.
Belly (of bow) – Part of the bow that faces the archer, also called the “face” of the bow.
Blank bale shooting – Shooting at a target butt with no target face. Used for form training.
Blunt Point – Arrowhead usually made from rubber or metal used to dispatch small game by
impact or “shock”.
Bow – Device, which when braced by a string, has the capability to launch an arrow.
Bowman – See “Archer”.
Bow quiver – Device attached to the bow to hold arrows for easy access in hunting situations.
Bow Sight – Device added to a bow, used to aim an arrow. It is calibrated to make the archer’
s line of sight coincide with the device at the arrow’s point of impact.
Bow Square – “T” shaped tool used to measure brace heights and tiller.
Bowstring, Endless Loop – String made from one continuous strand of material and bound
together by serving material. See Chapter 11.
Bowstring, Flemish Splice – String made from individual strands of material and bound
together by braiding or “splicing” the ends together. See Chapter 11.
Bowyer – One who makes bows.
Brace height – The distance from the deepest part of a strung bow’s grip to a point
perpendicular on the string.
Braced (bow) – Strung (bow).
Bracer – Old English term for an arm-guard.
Broadhead – Specific type of arrowhead, with two or more sharp edges, used for hunting.
Broomstick grip – Very narrow bow grip designed to reduce the possibility of bow hand
Bullseye – Center circle of a target; the highest scoring area.
Butt(s) – Target material that arrows are shot into. Bales of hay, for example.
Cap Dip – Method of painting the shaftment of an arrow by dipping it into a tube filled with
Cast – Distance and speed with which a bow can propel an arrow.
Center shot – Bow with its sight window cut past the centerline. Center shot position of the
arrow means that a strung bow, when viewed from the rear (face side) and held so the string
appears to bisect the upper limb, will also bisect the arrow.
Central – Anatomical term meaning closer to the center of a body or object.
Cock Feather – Odd colored feather, typically set perpendicular to the long axis of a
stickbow. Also called the “Index Feather”.
Collapse – Forward flinch of the drawing shoulder, just prior to releasing the bowstring.
Compound bow – A bow with eccentric pulleys or cams, at one or both limb tips, which
increase the limb’s mechanical advantage.
Creep – The technical term for the permanent elongation of a material.
Creeping – Forward movement of the drawing hand or shoulder while holding at full-draw,
effectively shortening the draw prior to release.
Crest – Bands of paint at the leading edge of the shaftment for arrow decoration or
Deep hook – Placing the hand on the string so the string is seated in the crease of the first
joint from the fingertip.
Deflex – Positioning of the distal ends of the riser or proximal ends of the limbs toward the
Distal – Anatomical term meaning farther away from the center of a body or object.
Draw weight – Weight, in pounds, required to pull the bowstring back to the archer’s anchor
point. Typically measured at 28”.
Draw length – Distance measured from the deepest part of the nock’s groove to a point
1.75” forward of the deepest part of the bow’s grip, when the archer is at full draw. For all
practical purposes, it can be measured to the back of the arrow shelf.
Elevation – 1. Sight adjustment to compensate for a high or low point of impact. 2. Amount
the bow needs to be raised or lowered to hit a given mark.
End – Number of arrows shot at one time, prior to retrieval. The word originated in medieval
England, when archery targets were set at opposing “ends” of a field, at times several
hundred yards apart. Due to the distance, archers would shoot their arrows, then move to
other end of the field, retrieve their arrows and shoot back towards their original position.
Endless Loop string – See Bowstring, Endless.
Face (of bow) – See “Belly (of bow)”.
Face Walking – Aiming method where the archer places the tip of his arrow on the target’s
center and changes his anchor point to adjust for different distances.
Fast Flight – Bowstring or bowstring material made from Spectra. Very lightweight and
stretch resistant. Fast flight may also be considered a generic term for any lightweight and
stretch resistant string material.
Field point – Arrow head with a shoulder beyond the primary point, to hinder penetration into
wood or similar objects.
Fistmele – See Brace height.
Fish-tailing – Visible horizontal fluctuations in an arrow’s flight.
FITA - Federation Internationale de Tir a L’Arc (aka: International Archery Federation).
Governing body of international target archery.
FITA round – One of several types of matches sanctioned by FITA. Typically an outdoor
round, consisting of 144 arrows, 36 shot in six ends of six arrows each at 90, 70, 50, and 30
FITA bow – see Olympic bow.
Flemish Splice string – See Bowstring, Flemish Splice.
Fletcher – One who makes arrows.
Fletching – The feathers or vanes on the rear of an arrow used to stabilize it in flight.
Fletching, Helical – Feathers or vanes applied so the quill wraps around the curvature of the
Fletching, Offset – Feathers or vanes applied so the quill is at a slight angle to the long axis
of the shaft.
Fletching, Straight – Feathers or vanes applied so the quill is in line with the long axis of the
FOC – see Front of Center.
Follow-through – What happens after the string is released.
Footed shaft – Wood arrow with a second piece of wood spliced to it at the leading end.
Form – Posture and position for a given activity, in this case, practicing archery.
Freestyle – Shooting style using sights. See Barebow, Unlimited Freestyle.
Front of Center – The ratio of the balance point of an arrow to its overall length.
G-nock – Small nock used on a target arrow that fits into a nock bushing.
Game – 1. In target archery, a subdivision of a match. For example, an indoor NFAA match
is comprised of 3 “games”, each consisting of 4 ends of 5 arrows. 2. Any legally hunted
Gap – Aiming method where the archer places the tip of the arrow a specified distance away
from the point he wishes to hit.
Glove, Shooting – Skeleton-type glove with finger stalls for the index, middle and ring fingers
of the drawing hand, and straps that attach to a wristband.
Group – Relative placement or clustering of arrows in a target.
H-nock – Small nock used on a target or hunting arrow that fits into a nock bushing. Larger
than a G-nock.
Hen Feathers – Two feathers of the same color, typically set 60 degrees from the bowstring.
IBO – International Bowhunters Organization. Group similar to the AMO, dealing primarily
with bowhunting issues.
Index Feather – See “Cock Feather”.
Instinctive shooting – Aiming method where the archer focuses on the point he wishes to hit
and allows his subconscious to interpret various data inputs to direct his arrow towards that
Insert – Metal or plastic bushing into which an arrowhead or nock is screwed or pushed.
Judo Point – Arrowhead with small wire arms perpendicular to the arrow, designed to prevent
the arrow from burying itself under brush and getting lost.
KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid; a basic principle, germane to archery.
Kisser button – A small disk attached to the string that the archer places between his lips as
a reference point to his anchor.
Lamination – The practice of gluing several similar or dissimilar materials together to
increase the strength, performance or esthetics of a bow or arrow.
Lamentation – Sound made by an archer in response to making a poor shot.
Limb – The working part of a bow.
Longbow – Bow which when braced contacts the string only at the string nocks.
Loose – See “Release”.
Match – An archery competition.
Matt – See “Butt”.
Modulus (of elasticity) – Elastic force of a substance or material. Defined as the ratio of
stress (force) to the distortion the material experiences when the aforementioned force is
applied. The higher the modulus, the more stress the material can withstand before it fails.
NAA – National Archery Association
NIBB – New Improved Balanced Bullet. A type of bullet-shaped target arrowhead specifically
made for each size aluminum, carbon or aluminum/carbon composite shaft to yield a FOC of
7% to 9%.
Nock – Any groove in an arrow or bow that engages the string. Arrow nocks are typically
separate plastic pieces glued or pressed into the tail end of the arrow.
Nocking point – Physical device on the bowstring that provides consistent arrow placement.
Nockset – A plastic lined metal ring, crimped onto the string as a nocking point.
No-Gluv – Rubber sleeves slid over the center serving of a bowstring, creating a nocking
point and eliminating the need for a tab or glove.
Ogive – A pointed, curved surface used to form the approximately streamlined nose of a
Olympic Bow – Recurve bow designed and configured for Olympic style competition. Usually
used synonymously with FITA bow, although the actual configurations may be slightly
Over-bowed – (Using a bow that is) too heavy for a given archer to handle correctly.
Parabolic Fletching – Feathers or vanes with a rounded trailing edge.
Peep Sight – Small aperture attached to the string, used in some types of target shooting.
Peeking – Any movement after the release associated with the shooter trying to see the
arrow in flight, usually adversely affecting the shot.
Perfect – Highest possible score on a given end, game or match.
Pile – See “Arrowhead”.
Piles – Hemorrhoids. (Possible symptom of being over-bowed.)
Pin nocks – Type of arrow nock used on some high-end target arrows.
Pivot Point – The deepest area of a bow’s grip.
Pluck (Plucking the string) – An outward movement of the hand (away from the face) on
Point Of Aim – Aiming method where the archer places the tip of the arrow on a set point
other than the point he wishes to hit. Once that point is established, the archer will not focus
on the target at all.
Point On Distance – That distance where the arrowhead overlays the center of the bullseye
Porpoising – Visible vertical fluctuations in an arrow’s flight.
Possible – See “Perfect”.
Power stroke – The distance for which the arrow is in contact with and propelled by the string.
Proximal – Anatomical term meaning closer to the center of a body or object.
Quiver – Device for holding arrows in a position accessible to the archer during a shooting
Range – Indoor or outdoor area for shooting. Also may mean distance from the shooter to
Recurve – Bow, which when braced, has the string making contact at the string nocks and
along the first several inches of the distal limb ends.
Reference Point – Point on face or neck to act as an additional locator for the anchor
Reflex – Positioning of the distal ends of the riser or proximal ends of the limbs away from
Reflex – Physical reaction not involving higher brain centers.
Release – Letting go of the string, hopefully after an anchor has been reached.
Release Aid – Hand- or wrist-held triggering device to release the string.
Release, Dead – Release method where the drawing hand remains in the same position
both before and after the shot.
Release, Pull-through – Also called a “Dynamic Release”. Release method where the
drawing hand snaps rearward after the shot.
Riser – Center part of the bow to which the limbs are attached.
Round – See “Match”.
Robinhood – 1. (verb) Splitting a wooden arrow lengthwise. With aluminum or carbon, the
second arrow flutes the first. By definition, the first arrow must be in the bullseye! 2. Robin
Hood (noun) For most of us, Errol Flynn.
Self bow – A bow made from a single material or single piece of material.
Self nock – Arrow nock created by cutting a groove in the end of a wooden arrow, typically
perpendicular to the grain.
Serving – Material wound around the bowstring either to bind the strands together or protect
Shaft – Tube or dowel destined to become an arrow. Also slang for arrow.
Shaftment – The last 8 to 10 or 12 inches of an arrow, towards the nock end.
Shield-cut Fletching – Feathers or vanes with a flat (nearly perpendicular to the arrow)
trailing edge. Thought to resemble an elongated medieval knight’s shield, divided in half
Shock – The forward motion of the bow limbs being abruptly stopped by the bowstring.
Sight – See “Bow Sight”.
Sight Extension (bar) – Device used to move the sight away from the shooter’s eye.
Sight, Olympic or FITA type – Target style bow sight with precision elevation and windage
Sight, hunting – Bow sight with multiple pins or apertures that can be set for several
distances. Typically, more compact than target-style sights.
Sight Radius – The distance from the shooter’s eye to the sighting device.
Sight Window – Part of the riser above the arrow shelf, cut out to bring the arrow closer to
center shot and give the archer a better view of his target.
Skirt, Target – Non-scoring area of a target face.
Snap shooting – Releasing the bowstring either before anchor or before a solid anchor is
Spine, Dynamic – Amount of actual flexing an arrow undergoes during a shot.
Spine, Static – Measurement of an arrow’s stiffness.
Spent Arrow – Arrow that has lost all the energy imparted by the bow.
Split Finger – (Placing the arrow) between the index and middle fingers, in preparation for a
Stability – Resistance to change. In archery it has three meanings: 1. Consistent
performance from a bow over time or during variations in temperature and humidity. 2.
Steadiness on target. 3. Limb resistance to user error/torque (torsional stability)
Stabilizer – Any weight added to a bow to increase its inertia or enhance its balance.
Stance – Position of the feet in relation to the target face.
Stave – Wood billet destined to become a bow, typically a self-bow.
Stickbow – A bow with a single string attached to the end of each limb, not using pulleys or
cams to increase performance.
String follow – Property of a self bow where the limbs do not return to their original position
when unstrung after a shooting session.
String Keeper – Leather or plastic device used to hold a bowstring in place while the bow is
String Walking – Aiming method where the archer places the tip of the arrow on the target’s
center and moves his drawing fingers down the string to adjust for different distances.
Stretch – Technical term for the recoverable elongation of a material. In archery jargon, any
elongation, recoverable or not.
Tab – Leather or plastic plate, covering and protecting the fingers of the drawing hand.
Take-down (bow) – Bow that comes apart in two or three pieces for easy transport, or for
changing limb length or weight.
Target – Arrow receptacle. See “Matt” and “Butt”.
Target Face – Paper or cardboard, typically with concentric circles, used for aiming and
Target Panic – Inability to execute a controlled shot. Typical symptoms include the inability to
anchor (short-drawing), hold at anchor (snap-shooting), release before being on target, or
the inability to release the string.
T/D – See “Take-down”.
Tiller – 1. Relative strength of the upper to lower limb, or the relative reflex or deflex of the
limbs to each other. 2. With regard to self bows, the relative bending of a limb from fade-out
Tip Protector – Plastic or rubber cup placed on a limb tip to protect it from being marred if
left in an upright position (while strung).
Torque – Twisting action by the archer on the bow or string, generally with detrimental
Traditional Archery – Very broad term originating in the 1980’s used to distinguish stickbows
from compound bows.
Trigger – See “Release Aid”.
Trigger – 1. Psychological stimulus having a positive or negative effect on an athlete’s
performance. 2. Roy Roger’s horse. You’re probably wondering why Roy Roger’s horse is
included in a book on Archery. In addition to carrying Roy Rogers, Trigger also carried Maid
Marion (Olivia DeHaviland) in The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn (Warner Bros
Tuning – Various methods of modifying certain parameters of the bow and/or arrows for
Under-bowed – (Using a bow that is) too light for a given task.
UNI-bushing – (Universal Nock Insert) Insert that accepts UNI-bushing type push-in nocks.
Unlimited Freestyle – Shooting style that allows sights and release aids. (The release aid
was the defining factor).
Vane – Plastic fletching.
Warf – 1. (noun) A take down bow comprised of an old style compound riser machined to
accept ILF limbs. 2. (verb) Machining limb pockets of certain older style compound risers to
accept ILF limbs.
Watch the Arrow Exercise – Form exercise where the shooter focuses on the tip of the arrow
or face of the bow and not the target.
Windage – 1. Sight adjustment to compensate for a left or right point of impact. 2. Amount
the bow needs to be held to the right or left to hit a given mark.
X-nock – Arrow nock used on some carbon arrows that fits into a nock bushing. Similar in
size to an H-nock.
Zeroing – Calibrating a bow sight so that the sighting device coincides with the desired point