Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
An arrow consists of a long and thin shaft made formerly of wood and now also from aluminum or carbon fiber composite. It is pointed or armed with an arrowhead at one end and with a nock or notch in the other. Arrowheads fit hunting and military purpose better than a mere point, which is mostly useful for target-shooting. Near the notch end are vanes which keep the arrow pointed in the direction of travel. There are often three vanes but many fletchings have four or even more. They were originally made from feathers but are now often made of plastic.
Artisans who make arrows by hand are known as "fletchers," a word related to the French word for arrow, flèche. To fletch an arrow means to provide it with its vanes.
As an arrow flies toward its target, its shaft will bend and flex from side to side, almost like a fish swimming through water.
The term "arrow" is also used for a graphic symbol used to point or indicate direction, being in its simplest form a line segment with a triangle affixed to one end, and in more complex forms a representation of an actual arrow.
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