phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Tow

Posted by Smokey Stover on September 15, 2004

In Reply to: Not so. posted by Bob on September 15, 2004

: : why are toe heads only referred to boys?

: Towheads (note spelling) come in both genders.

Tow is the fiber of flax before it has been heckled, or after it has been scutched--more generally, certain types of fiber (not always flax) not yet spun. Tow-head may thus be used to refer to heads of tousled hair, but more commonly to heads of very light blond hair, particularly among children (since the blond hair of children tends to darken with age). You've heard, of course, of "The maid with flaxen hair." In this case, I would imagine a more saturated yellow is intended than is the case with tow-headed children. But perhaps not. SS