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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

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


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.

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

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

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

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 ?
Also, this acquisition permits the company to enter the growing over USD10bn towable segment of the RV market by adding Lance Campers' portfolio of truck campers, towable campers and toy haulers to the company's existing suite of motorised offerings.
Tenders are invited for Towable Solar Variable Message Boards (17 Pgs)
As part of its Concrete and Masonry Equipment program, Toro offers a line of eight towable mixers with 2- to 12-cu.
Qualifying Toro products include: the mud buggy, power trowels, towable mortar mixers and concrete mixers, portable concrete mixers, plate compactors, rammers and related whole good kits and accessories.
This makes for one of the most towable trailers on the market today.
has hired back the plant's former management team and will build towable trailer brands from Forest River.
Another added benefit to this expansion will be our ability to sell our high quality used motorhomes and towable products through this great location in Clearwater.
This enhances the stability and ensures that the E25 model can be transported by trailer more easily (maximum towable weight, including trailer: 3.
Drying is easiest when the towable is inflated, but be sure to deflate it before storing for long periods of time.
It can be powered by electric or diesel engine, towable or self propelled.
To activities in Japan this, Honda has developed an easy-to-operate, lightweight, towable beach cleaner with a simple design and formed a beach cleaning caravan composed of current and retired Honda associates.
Typical of these are towable, truck mounted, electric and diesel powered skid mounted units, as well as containerised and fixed versions.
Formed by bringing in highly-experienced design and production personnel to add to the existing team at Norwich, the Division launched a range of towable and chassis-mounted stairs, WSUs and TSUs in various versions.
The 80RD is a trailer-mounted compressor that Smith said is towable by almost any vehicle.