Posted by Victoria S Dennis on April 25, 2005
In Reply to: Kids in tow posted by Kidsintow on April 25, 2005
: I'm wondering about the meaning of "kids in tow."
: Does it refer specifically to younger childer? Was its origin from getting goats organized? Any info on this would be appreciated. Thanks.
:It's nothing to do with goats. "In tow" is a nautical metaphor; if you encounter a boat whose engines have failed, and pass a rope to tow it back to harbour, you "take it in tow", and as long as you are towing it you "have it in tow".
In a metaphorical sense, anyone or anything that you have charge of and are leading around can be said to be "in tow": children, country cousins, a party of schoolchildren, a Japanese trade delegation, anything like that.