tow 1 (tō)
tr.v. towed, tow·ing, tows
To draw or pull behind by a chain or line: a tugboat towing a barge. See Synonyms at pull.
1. The act or an instance of towing: Can you give my car a tow?
a. Something, such as a tugboat, that tows.
b. Something, such as a barge or car, that is towed.
3. A rope or cable used in towing.
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.
[Middle English towen, from Old English togian; see deuk- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.