bow up verb phrase
1 Same as bow out.
1956 Hall Coll. Big Bend NC Aunt Martha Packett brought Oliver into the world. He was crooked as a fish hook. He was so bowed up in this back. (Letha Hicks)
2 To shape up, improve one’s behavior.
1939 Farr Tenn Mt Regions 89 Mose will have to bow up if he improves his job.
3 To turn mean, refuse to work.
1994 Weals Coll. He just bowed up and jowered at me. (Reported from Pete Monroe, c1948) 1995 Montgomery Coll. (Cardwell); = to get angry, as “He bows up when he catches kids in his watermelon patch” (Shields).
The only way I’ve heard the phrase bow out used is in regard to someone removing themselves from a situation.
Bow up is beyond common in my area of Appalachia, although I’ve never heard it used as indicated in number 2 in the dictionary entry.
The way I’ve most often heard the phrase used, is to mean someone came to an abrupt stop in front of you, example: “If he hadn’t of bowed up in the middle of the road I wouldn’t have never hit him!”
I’ve also heard bow up used as indicated in number 3 of the dictionary entry. Example: “Once they made her mad she just bowed up and wouldn’t talk for the rest of the time we were there.”
I think most everyone is familiar with the usage Letha Hicks described in the entry: being bowed up, meaning to be physically in pain or suffering from bone and muscle issues.
Is bow up a phrase you’re familiar with? How about bow out?