a diesel-powered or steam-powered boat used especially on inland waterways to push groups of barges lashed to it in front or on one side or both.

Origin of towboat

First recorded in 1805–15; tow1 + boat Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for towboat

Historical Examples of towboat

  • The towboat and the railroad had done their work, and done it well and completely.

    Life On The Mississippi, Complete

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • The Lexington and a towboat were alongside helping to pump her out.

  • The expense is less, as there is the hull of the towboat to buy when separate.

    The houseboat book

    William F. Waugh

  • That towboat tailed us just the same, but we had the satisfaction of fooling him.

    The Seiners

    James B. (James Brendan) Connolly

  • I wouldn't let the ship be held up by anybody, least of all a towboat man.

    Cappy Ricks

    Peter B. Kyne

British Dictionary definitions for towboat



another word for tug (def. 5)
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