a. One of the digits of a vertebrate foot.
b. The forepart of a foot or hoof.
c. The terminal segment of an invertebrate's limb.
2. The part of a sock, shoe, or boot that covers the digits of the foot.
3. The lowest, outermost, or endmost part, as:
a. The part of the head of a golf club farthest from the shaft.
b. The part of a vertical shaft that turns in a bearing.
c. The lowest part of an embankment or dam.
d. Geology A protruding downslope end of an alluvial fan, glacier, or lava flow.
v. toed, toe·ing, toes
1. To touch, kick, or reach with the toe.
2. To drive (a golf ball) with the toe of the club.
3. To set or adjust at an oblique angle. Used with in or out.
a. To drive (a nail or spike) at an oblique angle.
b. To fasten or secure with obliquely driven nails or spikes.
To stand, walk, move, or be formed with the toes pointed in a specified direction: He toes out.
on (one's) toes
Ready to act; alert.
step/tread on (someone's) toes
To hurt, offend, or encroach on the feelings, actions, or province of.
toe the line/mark
1. To adhere to doctrines or rules conscientiously; conform.
2. Sports & Games To touch a mark or line with the toe or hands in readiness for the start of a race or competition.
[Middle English, from Old English tā; see deik- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(click for a larger image)toe
lava flow from Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 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.