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Related to towing: Towing the line

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 ?
This legislation will deliver on the Palaszczuk Governments commitment to put an end to rogue towing operations ripping-off Queenslanders, Mr Miles.
The MMDA is also formulating new guidelines on tow operations amid complaints from motorists about abusive towing personnel.
In addition, the Discovery Sport benefitted from Land Rover's portfolio of towing and traction technologies such as Terrain Response, Tow Assist, Tow Hitch Assist and All Terrain Progress Control to complete the tow.
To maximize its mobile Web presence for towing service in southeastern Indiana, Columbus Towing & Recovery LLC partnered with the online marketing specialists at Prospect Genius.
The typical vendors will be there--those offering merchant services, uniforms, towing equipment and insurance.
Some towing companies that have municipal contracts will work with lower level clerks who will notify towers of cars that need to be towed.
The towing vehicle operator should always make a final safety check of the tow bar pins and safety clips before moving out and at all rest stops.
The city in 2010 had entered a five-year contract with Pat's for towing services in certain zones of the city.
nor the board could be responsible for administering any part of a new Brant towing organization, or else they would be in violation of the Police Services Act.
The towing and storage of private passenger automobiles is a multi-billion-dollar business.
THE boom in staycation holidays has seen one in five Brits planning a caravan or camping getaway this year with many of them towing with their vehicle for the first time.
Eighteen inch (or larger diameter) rims, with a low profile stiff sidewall all make the car more stable for towing but may impact off-road ability.
uk research programme continually throws up reliability problems related to towing - because the extra weight puts the engine and transmission under extra strain.
However these vehicles will have a gross combination weight in excess of 3500kg when towing a trailer.
Under the current law, towing companies sign contracts with property owners to patrol private lots and haul away illegally parked vehicles.