Our Glossary of Interesting Archery Terms

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So here you go, this is our archery glossary, an ever growing collection of words related to archery that should, once read, make you something of an expert! If there’s anything you feel we should add, let us know in the comments or get in touch! Oh, and don’t forget we have a separate article specifically for archery slang which covers those less frequently heard and less frequently  understood terms!

3D Archery

​Similar to field archery, however the targets in 3D archery are normally 3D representations of animals (deer, elk etc).

Anchor Point

The point to which an archer draws back the bowstring to aim, this point should be steady to allow the aim to steady and hence it is called the Anchor Point.


Someone who has no dominant eye.


The Archery Manufacturers Organisation, renamed in 2002 to the ATA (Archery Trade Association)

Archer’s Paradox

As an arrow leaves a bow, the force put into it causes it to flex (or wobble), this term relates to that flexing.

Archery Tag

A fun archery game similar to paintball where participants are clothed in protective gear in a mocked up arena and combat each other using arrows with large foam heads and specialized bows.

Archer Tab

Refers to a finger tab.

Arm Guard

A casing for the forearm and sometimes upper arm of an archer to protect against the effects of the bowstring slapping against the clothing or flesh.


A shaft of wood, carbon or fibreglass sharpened at the front with feathers or vanes at the back, shot from a bow as a weapon or for sport.


The tip of the arrow, an arrowhead will be formed differently for different uses such as hunting or target archery.

Arrow Length

The length of an arrow from the groove in the nock to the base of the point.

Arrow Rest

The part of the bow on which the arrow rests.

Arrow Shaft

The body of an arrow.


The Archery Trade Association a trade group representing manufacturers, retailers, distributors, sales representatives and others working in the archery industry.

ATA Draw Length

The distance from the nock point on the bowstring to the pivot point on the grip of a drawn bow + 1.75 inches.BarebowNormally refers to a recurve bow with no modern aids such as stabilisers or sights.


A short heavy arrow shot from a crossbow.


A curved piece of wood or fibreglass whose ends are joined with a taut string used for shooting arrows.

Bow Hand

The hand that holds the bow. The left hand of a right handed archer and the right hand of a left handed archer.

Bow Arm

The arm that holds the bow.

Bow Sight

An attachable device designed to provide assistance in aiming.

Bow Stave

Trimmed wood rod that will be constructed into a bow.


The act of spearing fish with an arrow or hunting fish with an arrow.


Using a bow and arrow to hunt live game.


The string which attaches to the ends of the bow and is used to propel arrows forwards.


The backing to a typical archery target which once the arrow has pierced the (normally paper) target stops the arrow, usually made of foam or straw.


An arrow that hits the target and then falls out.


A device that measures the draw-weight of a bow.


A device to measure the brace height and nock position of a bow.


Someone who makes bows!


A traditional name for an arm guard.


A hunting arrow point, shaped in a V with either 2 or 4 cutting edges.


A pulley found on the end of compound bow limbs.


Material used to make arrows and bow parts.

Chest Guard

Protective hear used to present strings catching on the clothes or body, usually covers one side of the chest.


A device that clicks when a bow is drawn to a specified draw length, letting an archer know the best time to release.

Clout Archery

A discipline of archery where a large target is draw on the floor with a flat at the center at a large distance from the archer and the object is to shoot an arrow which wil land as close to the flag as possible. Think ‘golf’ for archers!

Compound Bows

A type of bow with mechanical aids to ‘compound’ the drawn weight upon release allowing for a faster shot from a lower draw weight.

Composite Bow

Composite bows are traditional bows, usually made from horn or wood.


A mechanical, horizontal bow where the mechanism can be used to draw back the string and lock it in place, the crossbow is then held and fired much like a rifle.

Cross Dominance

When an archer has a dominant left eye and a dominant right hand and vice versa.


The act of pulling a bowstring back in readiness to shoot an arrow.

Draw Length

Refers to the distance an archer can draw back a bow.

Draw Weight

The force which must be exerted in order to hold a bow in the drawn position.

Dry Firing

Shooting an empty bow without using an arrow (don’t do this).


A specific number of arrows shot  between scoring. An ‘end’ of arrows can be 3, 4, 6 or more depending on the competition rules.

Eye Dominance

Refers to the dominant eye of an archer

Field Archery

Target archery practised on an outdoor course with differing terrain and differing shot distances.Finger TabSmall leather or synthetic patch and protects fingers from the bowstring.

Finger Guard

See finger tab.


Federation Internationale de Tir a L’Arc. The international target archery federation!

Flemish Twist

Traditional string with loops made with the same method as rope. Twisted and spliced rather than a continuous strand of looped material.


One of the feathers vanes of an arrow.

Flight Archery

A discipline of archery where the object is to shoot an arrow for the furthest distance.

Flight Bow

A specialised type of bow designed specifically for distance shooting.


An archery equipment manufacturer.


A Japanese discipline centered around the Yumi (or Kyudo bow) and the discipline of archery.

Kyudo Bow

Similar to a longbow, a traditional one piece bow with rounded limbs that can be up to 2m in height, traditionally made from bamboo. Used in the practice of Kyudo.


A technique used in the manufacture of bows where by layers of material are fused together to make a new material with different properties.


Attached to a riser, the flexible part of a takedown bow to which the strings are attached.


A traditional one piece bow with rounded limbs, usually as tall as the archer.

Mounted Archery

An archer on horseback practised mounted archery.


The groove at the end of the arrow where it fits onto the bowstring.

Nocking Point

The marked part of the bowstring where the arrow nock should be placed.

Over Bowed

Someone trying to draw a bow with a draw weight that’s too heavy is ‘over bowed’, the bow is overpowering them.

Olympic Archery

Target archery shot using a recurve bow only at a range of 70m. Mens/Womens and Team disciplines currently appear in the olympic games.

Para Archery

Archery for wheelchair bound and physically impaired athletes.

Peep Sight

A small ring attached to the bow string that you look through to locate the bow front sight and align both on an target.


An archery equipment manufacturer.


A (usually portable) case for holding arrows.

Recurve Bows

A style of bow which curves forwards at the ends, these curves straighten under tension and add to the power of the bow.

Reflex Bow

A bow whose limbs curve away from you when it is unstrung.


The central part of a bow containing the gripped handle and arrow rest.

Run Archery

An event where contestants run through a cross-country trail interspersed with rounds of target archery.


Southwestern Archery Supply, an archery equipment manufacturer.


An archery equipment manufacturer.

Self Bow

Refers to a bow made from a single piece of wood.


Protective wrapping around bow string to prevent wear.

Ski Archery

An event where contestants ski through a cross-country trail interspersed with rounds of target archery.


Sometimes referred to as the distance you missed the bullseye by.


When you overdraw a bow by pulling the string too far back there is a large increase in draw weight, this is referred to as stacking.


A device to aid in the stringing of a bow.

Tab Hand

The hand that draw the string. The left hand of a left handed archer and the right hand of a right handed archer.


A bow which can be disassembled into pieces for transport, usually consists of a riser where the archer would hold the bow and rest the arrow and 2 limbs.

Traditional Archery

Archery with a basic modern bow but without modern aids such as stabilisers. Can also refer to archery with a traditional style of bow such as a longbow or flatbow.

Target Archery

The most popular style of archery, practised indoors and outdoors at distances of up to 70m this style of archery involves shooting at a target mounted on a boss which displays concentric circles of different colors denoting differing scoring zones, usually having a gold or yellow center circle.


An archer!


Adjustments to a bow and arrow to price the most accurate shots.


Refers to a Kyudo bow.​

Hi there! I'm a passionate bowman and a fan of all target sports in general. You'll often find me at my local archery and shooting ranges honing my skills.

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