tow


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have (someone or something) in tow

1. To be accompanied by someone or something. I can't believe Joyce had all eight kids in tow when she came into the office today.
2. To pull or drag something. They have the plane in tow and will bring it back to the hangar.
See also: have, tow

in tow

Accompanying alongside or under one's supervision. I was so embarrassed when I arrived with the kids in tow only to realize that the invitation said adults only. The senator arrived to the press conference with her aides in tow.
See also: tow

take (one) in tow

To help or guide another person by acting as a mentor. My high school English teacher was a great mentor—she took me in tow and taught me invaluable skills, like how to read and write critically.
See also: take, tow

take (something) in tow

To pull or drag something. Originally a nautical phrase used to describe the action of a ship towing something. They'll take the plane in tow and bring it back to the hangar.
See also: take, tow

toe the line

To adhere to the rules of something. (Often misspelled as "tow the line.") From now on, I plan to toe the line and do exactly what Gram tells me, to avoid getting in any more trouble. I expect you to toe the line at all times if you want to remain at this firm, Jonathan.
See also: line, toe

toe the mark

To adhere or conform to the rules of something. From now on, I plan to toe the mark and do exactly what Graham tells me, to avoid getting in any more trouble. I expect you to toe the mark at all times if you want to remain at this firm, Jonathan.
See also: mark, toe

tow (someone or something) into (something or some place)

To bring some vehicle into something or some place by pulling it with another vehicle. The city towed the large van into its impound lot for parking illegally. We had to get the coastguard to tow us into port after the engine failed on our boat.
See also: tow

tow (someone or something) out of (something or some place)

To bring some vehicle out of something or some place by pulling it with another vehicle. We had to call someone to tow our van out of the ditch. The coastguard had to come tow us out of the reeds after the boat's motor got all tangled up.
See also: of, out, tow

tow away

To take some vehicle away by pulling it with another vehicle. A noun or pronoun can be used between "tow" and "away." They'll tow your car away if you park it there. We had to get the coastguard to tow us away after the engine failed on our boat.
See also: away, tow

tow in

To bring some vehicle in(to something or some place) by pulling it with another vehicle. A noun or pronoun can be used between "tow" and "in." The mechanic will tow in your car to have a look at why it won't start for you. We had to get the coastguard to tow us in after the engine failed on our boat.
See also: tow

tow out

1. To bring some vehicle out to something or some place by pulling it with another vehicle. A noun or pronoun can be used between "tow" and "out." They use huge trucks to tow out the rockets to the launch site. You'll need have the boat towed out to deeper waters, or you might scrape the hull when you start the engine.
2. To bring some vehicle out of something or some place by pulling it with another vehicle. A noun or pronoun can be used between "tow" and "out." We got stuck in a ditch and had to call someone to come tow out the van. Make sure you don't go into the shallow waters. If your motor gets tangled in the reeds, the coastguard will have to come tow you out!
See also: out, tow

undertow

1. A strong undercurrent, as in the ocean. There's a really powerful undertow today, so I think the kids should stay out of the water.
2. A contrasting tone or aspect in art or literature. That movie is advertised as a comedy, but the humor has a strong undertow of sadness and despair.

have someone or something in tow

Fig. to lead, pull, or tow someone or something around. Mrs. Smith has her son by the hand and in tow. That car has a boat in tow.
See also: have, tow

in tow

closely following; under someone's control. The nanny walked into the park with three children in tow. The manager went to the meeting with her staff in tow.
See also: tow

toe the mark

 and toe the line
Fig. to do what one is expected to do; to follow the rules. You'll get ahead, Sally. Don't worry. Just toe the mark, and everything will be okay. John finally got fired. He just couldn't learn to toe the line.
See also: mark, toe

tow someone or something away*

to pull something, such as a car or a boat, away with another car, boat, etc. (The someone refers to the property of someone, not the person.) If I don't get back to my car, they will tow me away. The truck towed away my car. A big truck came and towed the illegally parked car away.
See also: away, tow

tow someone or something into something

 and tow someone or something in
to pull something, such as a car or a truck, into something, such as a garage. (The someone refers to the property of someone, not the person.) They had to tow my car into the garage to be repaired. They towed in my car.
See also: tow

tow someone or something out

(of some place) to pull something, such as a car, out of something, such as a ditch. (The someone refers to the property of someone, not the person.) The farmer used his tractor to tow Andrew out of the ditch. He towed the car out of the ditch.
See also: out, tow

tow someone or something out (to something)

to pull something, such as a boat, or someone in or on something out in the water, to something. (The someone refers to the property of someone, not the person.) Frank, who was on his surfboard, asked Tony to tow him out to the little island. We towed the raft out where the water is deep.
See also: out, tow

in tow

In one's charge or close guidance; along with one. For example, The older girl took the new student in tow, or Peter always had his family in tow. This expression alludes to the literal meaning of being pulled along. [Early 1700s]
See also: tow

toe the line

Also, toe the mark. Meet a standard, abide by the rules, as in The new director will make us toe the line, I'm sure, or At daycare Brian has to toe the mark, but at home his mother's quite lenient. This idiom refers to runners in a race placing their toes on the starting line and not moving until the starting signal. Its figurative use dates from the early 1800s.
See also: line, toe

toe the line

COMMON If you toe the line, you behave in the way that people in authority have told you to behave. The new legislation could force them out of business if they don't toe the line. Journalists who refuse to toe the line will have to be sacked. Note: You often use a word before line to indicate who the people in authority are. He was sacked for not toeing the Party line. Note: At the start of a race, runners stand in a row with their toe just behind the starting line.
See also: line, toe

toe the line

accept the authority, principles, or policies of a particular group, especially under pressure.
Competitors in a race toe the line by placing their toes on the starting line.
1998 Times An insider suggests…that the said minister is…on the skids. The minister smarts, and toes the line.
See also: line, toe

toe the ˈline

(American English also toe the ˈmark) obey the orders and accept the ideas, aims and principles of a particular group or person: The Prime Minister is angry because some members of the government are not toeing the line. OPPOSITE: overstep the mark/line
See also: line, toe

in ˈtow

(informal) following closely behind; with you: Mrs Bridge arrived with her four children in tow.
See also: tow

in tow

1. In a condition of being towed: a car with a trailer in tow.
2. Under close guidance; in one's charge: The new student was taken in tow by a peer counselor.
3. As a companion or follower: came to dinner with a friend in tow.
See also: tow
References in periodicals archive ?
But it's the tow truck driver who is crawling under that car hooking it up, covered with glass and debris and whatever else.
* Warning: If a disabled vehicle's brakes are not working, do not try to flat tow it.
As part of the application process, companies must have personal and property liability insurance for tow trucks and submit a copy of their insurance certificate.
Stealth hitches are ahead in popularity and in the market, it sells solo as rack only package, towing package and combination tow and rack package.
Caption: City Council to Vote to Increase Fee from $150 per year to $1,000 per year; Adds $25 Fee Paid to City for Each Vehicle Towed on Behalf of NFPD
According to David Motton, Tow Car Editor of Practical Caravan and the team of judges: "The latest Volkswagen Passat may have a lower kerbweight than its predecessor, but it punches above its weight with a caravan in tow.
The attempt to "set the record straight" in Wenatchee is part of TRAW's 2015 Regional Tow Expo, Aug.
Another scam involves private lots where a tow truck will "just tow a car parked on private property (such as a parking lot) and refuse to release it until exorbitant rates are paid," said Carol Kaplan, director of public affairs for the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
This keeps the tow bar and towed vehicle from disconnecting during stops.
A driver is accused of trying to hit two men with his tow truck, police reports show.
RACECOURSE KEY Bangor - BAN Newbury - NBU Newcastle - NCS Towcester - TOW Wolverhampton - WOL A Tail Of Intrigue (IRE) ....TOW 1.15 Adili (IRE) .............................
Auto Business News-June 18, 2013--Mazda6 receives 'Best Petrol Tow Car' at Tow Car Awards 2013(C)1994-2013 ENPublishing - http://www.enpublishing.co.uk
Results of the latest Tow Car Awards prove otherwise - in fact, the winners named this week show that some of Britain's best value family cars can more than hold their own with a caravan or trailer hitched-up behind them.
The Moelfre RNLI lifeboat Robert & Violet was launched and it arrived to set up its own tow line to tow the trawler ashore.