"I'll kick your ass and make you like it!"

These words were actually spoken by a person who was 'bowed up' at the time.

Bowed up is a vernacular term popular in the southern United States for an aggressive stance (warning display) that is meant to show a readiness to fight as a ploy to cause intimidation.

There are three physical components that makes the term descriptively appropriate:

  1. A bending of the spine ('bowing' the spine) - can be concave or convex depending on personal preference
  2. Arms angling outward away from the body, bent at the elbows, terminating with fists (arms are 'bowed', similar to a bodybuilder pose)
  3. Legs slightly spread and bent at the knees (legs 'bowed')

This human warning display is similar in purpose to baring of teeth, puffing-up of feathers, inflation of external bladder, fanning of neck membrane, etc. which make an animal look as big, strong and threatening as possible. It is abandoned during a fight, but commonly assumed again by the victor post-fight.

Can be used as 'bowing up' or 'to bow up'.

Can also be used metaphorically when discussing the meeting of a challenge, or discussing foreign affairs (ie. "North Korea is all bowed up at the United States.").

As found on BBC America, an example of usage from a user named babykitty:

I heard this from a coworker from Arab, Alabama (that's A-rab) referring to our rather disagreeable team leader..."He bowed up like a coon-hound passing a peach pit."

As used in lyrics by rapper "Pastor Troy": (excerpt)

"Throw Dem Bows"

Here I go
When I come to the do' niggas fall to the flo
Cause I be throwing them bows
I'm the realest ho
Bucking all my foes
U understand ho
Thuggin' bitches and lovin' niggas that's bout that change
Pimping niggas and putting bitches up on some game
When I'm in the club
Bitches don't you fuck with me
Nigga don't be touching me
Cause I'm fucked up
And if you walk up get slugged up
Stepping on bitches toes
Spilling drank on they new clothes
Muthafuck dem hoes
Got money to blow
Plus I got a chip on my shoulder
Y'all don't wanna get bowed up
Y'all niggas don't wanna fuck wit me
Y'all playing
We throwing dem bows
So back up off me
Ha, what (3x)
We throw dem bows on dem hoes
Y'all niggas ain't ready
source: www.azlyrics.com

As used in the article "It's Good To Be King" By Jonathan Gipson
Fort Smith, Arkansas

"All of our outfielders just bowed up," FSC coach Jake Files said. "We said before the game we refused to lose, and went after it. They were going to get everything they could get, and they did it."

As used in the article "Newton County follows Mapp to register shutout" By Bill Spencer

"Our defense has stepped up time after time. They just play. They love the game. They've had their backs to the wall before and just bowed up".

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