Definition of tow noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//təʊ//
; NAmE NAmE//toʊ//
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  • [singular] an act of one vehicle pulling another vehicle using a rope or chain The car broke down and we had to get somebody to give us a tow. a tow truck The ship, whose engine had failed, is now safely under tow.
  • Word OriginOld English togian ‘draw, drag’, of Germanic origin; related to tug. The noun dates from the early 17th cent.Idioms
    1. 1(informal) if you have somebody in tow, they are with you and following closely behind She turned up with her mother in tow. a harassed mother with three small children in tow
    2. 2if a ship is taken in tow, it is pulled by another ship
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: tow