tow

1
[ toh ]
/ toʊ /

verb (used with object)

to pull or haul (a car, barge, trailer, etc.) by a rope, chain, or other device: The car was towed to the service station.

noun

an act or instance of towing.
something being towed.
something, as a boat or truck, that tows.
a rope, chain, metal bar, or other device for towing: The trailer is secured to the car by a metal tow.

Idioms

    in tow,
    1. in the state of being towed.
    2. under one's guidance; in one's charge.
    3. as a follower, admirer, or companion: a professor who always had a graduate student in tow.
    under tow, in the condition of being towed; in tow.

Origin of tow

1
before 1000; Middle English towen (v.), Old English togian to pull by force, drag; cognate with Middle High German zogen to draw, tug, drag. See tug

Related forms

tow·a·ble, adjectivetow·a·bil·i·ty, noun

Can be confused

toe tow

Definition for tow (2 of 4)

tow

2
[ toh ]
/ toʊ /

noun

the fiber of flax, hemp, or jute prepared for spinning by scutching.
the shorter, less desirable flax fibers separated from line fibers in hackling.
synthetic filaments prior to spinning.

adjective

made of tow.

Origin of tow

2
1300–50; Middle English; Old English tōw- (in tōwlīc pertaining to thread, tōwhūs spinning house); akin to Old Norse wool

Definition for tow (3 of 4)

tow

3
[ toh ]
/ toʊ /

noun Scot.

a rope.

Origin of tow

3
1425–75; late Middle English (Scots); Old English toh- (in tohlīne towline); cognate with Old Norse tog towline. See tow1

Definition for tow (4 of 4)

TOW

[ toh ]
/ toʊ /

noun

a U.S. Army antitank missile, steered to its target by two thin wires connected to a computerized launcher, which is mounted on a vehicle or helicopter.

Origin of TOW

t(ube-launched,) o(ptically-guided,) w(ire-tracked missile)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tow

British Dictionary definitions for tow (1 of 2)

tow

1
/ (təʊ) /

verb

(tr) to pull or drag (a vehicle, boat, etc), esp by means of a rope or cable

noun

Derived Forms

towable, adjective

Word Origin for tow

Old English togian; related to Old Frisian togia, Old Norse toga, Old High German zogōn

British Dictionary definitions for tow (2 of 2)

tow

2
/ (təʊ) /

noun

the fibres of hemp, flax, jute, etc, in the scutched state
synthetic fibres preparatory to spinning
the coarser fibres discarded after combing

Derived Forms

towy, adjective

Word Origin for tow

Old English tōw; related to Old Saxon tou, Old Norse tuft of wool, Dutch touwen to spin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with tow

tow


see in tow.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.