- 1 English
- 2 Middle English
- (Received Pronunciation) enPR: tō, IPA(key): /təʊ/
- (US) enPR: tō, IPA(key): /toʊ/
- (UK, rare) enPR: tou, IPA(key): /taʊ/, etymology 2 only
- Rhymes: -əʊ
- Homophone: toe
- (transitive) To pull something behind one using a line or chain; to haul.
- (running, cycling, motor racing, etc.) To aid someone behind by shielding them from wind resistance.
tow (plural tows)
- The act of towing and the condition of being towed.
- It isn't the car's battery; I think I need a tow.
- Something, such as a tugboat, that tows.
- Something, such as a barge, that is towed.
- A rope or cable used in towing.
- (motor racing) A speed increase given by driving in front of another car on a straight, which causes a slipstream for the car behind.
- 2019 September 8, Andrew Benson, BBC Sport:
- On Saturday, Vettel was very unhappy with Leclerc's failure to work out a way through the traffic and give him a tow for the second runs in qualifying, as had been agreed.
From Middle English touw, from Old English tow- (“spinning”) (in compounds, e.g. towcræft, towhūs, towlic), from Proto-Germanic *tawwą; compare Old Norse tó (“uncleansed wool”), Dutch touw (“rope”). Perhaps cognate with Old English tawian (“prepare for use”), Gothic 𐍄𐌰𐌿𐌾𐌰𐌽 (taujan, “do, make”).
- An untwisted bundle of fibers such as cellulose acetate, flax, hemp or jute.
- 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981, Isaiah 1:31:
- And the strong shall be as tow, and the maker of it as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them.
- Unprepared flax, especially used as a firestarter.
- The fibrous matter of flax or a similar plant; (tow).
- Oakum, hards; the rough portion of flax separated during hackling.