Toad vs towed

Toad and towed are commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words toad and towed, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

A toad is an amphibian; it has dry, warty skin that may excrete poison. A toad is stocky with short legs, a broad nose, and no teeth. It lives primarily on land, though it lays its eggs in the water. The word toad is derived from the Old English word, tadige.

Towed  is the past tense of tow, which means to pull or drag something, especially with a chain or rope. Towed most often refers to pulling something behind a car, truck or boat. Related words are tow, tows, towing. The word towed is derived from the Old English prefix tow which means spinning.

Examples

The venom found in Colorado river toads, also known as Sonoran Desert toads, is currently being studied by a research team to see if the chemical compound 5-MeO-DMT can treat depression. (Newsweek)

At more than half a foot long, it’s the largest toad native to North America — one reason why its venom is so strong. (Phoenix New Times)

Gallegos told police she fired because she believed her life was in danger while the Yaris was being towed. (Durango Herald)

Police warned Long that the truck would be towed if it wasn’t moved within 72 hours — a limit outlined in a city ordinance — but he said the truck was inoperable; after the city waited four days, they towed and impounded the vehicle. (Seattle Times)