Toe vs. Tow

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Toe and tow are two words that are pronounced the same way but are spelled differently and mean different things. We will look at the difference in meaning between toe and tow, the origins of these two words and some examples of their use in sentences.

A toe is a digit on a human or animal foot. The word toe is also used to mean the portion of a sock or shoe that covers the toes or something shaped or positioned like a toe. Toe is also used as a verb to mean touching or nudging something with one’s toe or to walk with one’s toes pointed inward or pointed outward. The word toe is derived from the Old English word ta.

Tow means to pull something, to drag something, especially with a chain or rope. Tow most often refers to pulling something behind a car, truck or boat. Tow is also used as a noun to describe the act of towing something. The related verb forms are tows, towed, towing. The word tow is derived from the Old English prefix tow- which means spinning.


The toe, still complete and intact with its mummified toenail, was returned by the daughter of the man responsible for restoring the body, who took it home when it was cut off in the 1950s as part of an experiment in perservation techniques. (The Local Denmark)

A tow truck driver was reportedly killed in a fatal car crash on North Lantau Highway on Sunday shortly after midnight, leading to a temporary closure of the major traffic artery to the airport for an hour. (The South China Morning Post)

A boat with four men that broke down in the Atlantic Ocean about 80 miles off the South Shore of Long Island was towed to safety Friday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard said. (Newsday)

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