Minnehaha Archers, Inc
Minnehaha Archers, Inc
Sioux Falls, South Dakota 10

Archery most common phrases and words


Anchor Point

The reference point were a person anchors the bow string to before releasing.

This point should be the same for each shot and may be the side of the mouth, ear lobe, or other reference point


Material attached to the forearm of the arm that holds the bow to protect it from a string burn or keeps the sleeve from catching on the string.

Arrow shaft

The main body of the arrow without the nock, fletching, or point installed. It can be made from several materials including wood, aluminum, carbon, and composites.


Any method used to point the arrow in the direction you want it to go.

Archer's Paradox

The effect produced by an arrow flexing as it leaves the bow.


The projectile in Archery.

Arrow Rest

The horizontal projection on the bow upon which the arrow rests.

Arrow Shelf

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


The point or tip of an arrow, particularly when fashioned for hunting.

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.


Brace height

The distance from the string to the deepest part of the handle or grip. This distance can be changed by twisting the string tighter to increase the height and untwisting it to decrease the height.


Arrow tips meant for hunting big-game. They generally feature at least one-inch of cutting diameter and may be fixed blades or expandable (mechanical).

Bow Back
The side of the bow away from the bow string.


A style of shooting - without a bow site, a stabilizers or release aid.

Bare Shaft

An arrow shaft without fletching, used to tune a bow.

Bow Face

The side of the bow toward the archer, or the side of the bow that faces the bow string; today it is called the 'face'.

Blunt (tip) - 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.

Bow - A device made of a piece of flexible material with a string connecting to two ends, used to propel an arrow.

Bow Arm

The arm that holds the bow while shooting

Bow Case

A box or special case to carry a bow in.

Bow Hand

The hand that holds the bow.

Bow Reel

A reel attached to the bow for bow fishing.

Bow Sight

A mechanical device placed on the bow which the archer uses for aiming 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 Square

T-shaped device used to measure brace height and for placing nock locations and tiller.

Bow String

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

Bow Stringer

A device used to string a bow safely. Made of cord with two leather pockets that are different sizes, used to string a recurve bow.


The use of archery equipment for catching fish.


The practice of taking game using archery.

Butt or Matt

Any backstop to which a target face is attached. Usually made of straw, cedar tow or sod.


Cable guard

The rod on compound bows which keeps the cables away from the center of the bow so the arrow can pass by without hitting the cables.


The wheel or pulley on the end of compound bow's limb used to provide let-off and power. They may be round or elliptical shape.

Center shot

A bow with a sight window that is inset to the center-line that runs along the bow from end to end inline with the string. 


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.

Carbon Fiber

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

Center Serving

The material in the center of the bow string where the arrow is nocked. Protects the string from wear.


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



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

Drawing Arm

The arm that draws the bow string.

Drawing  Hand

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


Natural deflection of an arrow from its normal path due to outside factors such as wind


To pull the bow string back. Also the distance the bowstring is pulled back. 

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. 

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.

  A properly sized bow has to fit your arms. But don't get caught short. The longer you can draw back the bow, the more speed you'll get in your arrow.

 Determining your draw length

  1.   Make a fist with your bow hand and touch a wall, holding it straight out as if you were shooting a bow.
  2.  Then measure, or have someone else measure , the distance from the wall to the corner of your mouth--measuring parallel along your arm.

 You can also measure your wingspan by spreading your arms out and measuring the distance from fingertip to fingertip.

 Refer to the chart below for your proper draw length. Add or subtract a half-inch for each inch over or above the wingspans listed below.



The amount of kinetic energy of the arrow just as it leaves the bow divided by the potential energy that went into drawing it, multiplied by 100.


A set number of arrows that are shot before going to the target to score and retrieve them.

End Loop

The part of the string fitting over the bow nock.

English Longbow

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



The side of the bow that faces the archer or bowstring. Historically it was called the belly.

Field Archery

Shooting arrows at targets at varying distances over different types of terrain, usually in woods or courses similar to golf courses. Targets may be bulls-eyes and/or animal types.

Field Arrow

A heavy duty arrow adaptable for hunting.

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 bowstring when pulling the string back.

Finger Tab

A flat piece of smooth material which protects the archer's fingers of the drawing hand. Also called a Tab.


The plastic vane or feather that is at the end of the arrow used to stabilize the arrows flight path.


The stabilizing fins, vanes or other devices attached to the nock end of the arrow shaft, stabilizing the flight of the arrow. Made of feathers, plastic or rubber. Each fin or vane is called fletch.

Fletching Jig

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


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 Shot

A shot for distance.


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

Follow through

Maintaining the motion of the upper body muscles after releasing the string.

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; a tournament classification allowing the use of a bow sight.

Full Draw 

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

Flipper rest

An elevated rest attached to the bow sight window. Looks like a tab or finger.

Flu flu

An arrow with large bushy feathers to limit the flight distance and used to shoot airborne targets or targets in trees.



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


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.


To shoot arrows in a pattern, or the pattern of the arrows in the target.


A close clustering of arrows on the target.


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


Index Fletch

A differently-colored fletch used for proper arrow alignment. Should be upright or away from the bow when the arrow is nocked. Commonly referred to as a Cock fletch or Cock feather.


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


International Bowhunting Organization

IBO Speed Rating

The International Bowhunter's Organization has a speed rating that is generally measured with a bow set at 70 pounds, 30-inch draw and shooting a 350-grainarrow. Today's fastest bows will shoot over 310fps using the IBO rating.



Allows you to anchor consistently by placing the kisser on the bowstring and making sure it touches the same part of your lips each draw.

Kisser button

A button placed on a bow string to hold your anchor point consistently in the same position.


As an archery term is a synthetic material used to make bowstrings. Very strong and light material but has no stretch, 



The percent that a bows holding weight is reduced from its pulling weight when the cams are in the valley.

Let-Off for Compound Bows:

1. Definition of let-off: That characteristic of a bow that results in a reduction of the force necessary to increase the draw length after the highest level of draw force has been reached. This is characteristic generally associated with, but not restricted to, compound bows.

2. The maximum let-off on a compound bow shall be measured at a point in the draw cycle after the peak draw weight has been attained. It shall be measured near the end of the draw cycle where the minimum holding force is reached. This point in the draw cycle on a compound bow is known as "the bottom of the valley."

3. The values of the peak draw force and the let-off force shall be used to calculate the percent of let-off. The peak force is the maximum force obtained during the draw cycle. The let-off force is the lowest force reached following the peak force during a single uninterrupted draw cycle. In all cases, both the highest and lowest force shall be read from a scale during a single and continual pull condition, without relaxation.  % Let-off = 100 X [(Peak Draw Force) - (Minimum Holding Force)] / (Peak Draw Force)

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 Down

Returning from full draw to he undrawn position with control and not releasing the string.


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

Limb Dampener

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.


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


The act of shooting an arrow from a bow. Commonly called Release.


A string in a U shape tied on the bow string around the nock point that a release aid is attached to when shooting.


Mass Weight

The actual weight of the bow.

Matt or Butt

Any backstop to which a target face is attached. Usually made of straw, cedar tow or sod.

Mechanical Broadhead

A broadhead arrow 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.



The notch or attachment at the rear end of an arrow, when place on bowstring it holds the arrow onto the string; the act of setting an arrow in to the bow, "to nock an arrow".

Nock Locator

The mark or device that indicates where the arrow is to be placed on the string.

Nocking Pliers

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

Nocking Point -

The point on a bowstring where the arrow is nocked.

Nocking loop

Loop placed around nocking point. This protects your string from being damaged by the release aid but the downside is, it reduces speed slightly.

Nock on arrow

Arrow part glued or snapped into the back of an arrow shaft that the bow string fits into. On early or very traditional arrows, the nock is cut into the shaft itself.

Nock Set

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



As an archery term is a condition in which a bowstring is too short for the bow; Fist mêlée is exceeded.


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.

Plunger Button

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


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



Holds arrows, the most popular for bowhunting is the bow-quiver which holds arrows on the bow. But some say that makes the bow too heavy and makes it harder to hold the bow steady in the wind. Other options are hip quivers and back-quivers.


Recurve Bow

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


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.


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.


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.


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


Scope Sight

A bow sight with a magnifying lens.


The wrapping of extra thread around the loops and center of the bow string to protect it from wear.

Serving Jig

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


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 Window

The cut out section of the bow above the grip.


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.

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

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


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 Hand

Drawing hand, the hand used to pull the bowstring.


Refers to the strength of the arrow shaft and its ability to resist bending and to recover after bending or experiencing archer's paradox.


Placed on a bow for the purpose of reducing torque and shock after releasing the arrow. Also, it helps level out the bow and hold it steady prior to releasing.



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

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.


General term for the intended destination of a shot arrow.

Target Archery

Shooting at non-moving targets placed varying distances.

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.


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


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


 A devotee of archery.


To adjust the variables in the bow and arrow system to achieve the best arrow flight and arrow groups.



Any fletch made of a material other that feathers, usually plastic or rubber. The stabilizing fin of an arrow.


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.


When at full-draw, the area between a compound's wall and the point where the let-off ceases to exist.



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


Term used to describe the back of the drawing motion of a bow. A solid or hard wall is when the drawing motion comes to a sudden and precise end. If the back of the drawing motion is nondescript, it is called a soft or mushy wall. A solid wall is usually preferred because it makes it easier to anchor consistently. Bowtech and Diamond bows have a solid wall draw-stop that makes the wall solid.