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Towhead, blond

Posted by ESC on December 29, 2000

In Reply to: Towhead posted by LaRae Wakefield on December 28, 2000

: Can anyone tell me the origin of the phrase "towheaded child" and what it's supposed to mean?

TOWHEAD -- ".is a person -- usually a young person -- who has very blond hair, almost flaxen or pale yellow. 'Tow' has for centuries been used as a name for flax or hemp prepared for spinning." From the "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1977, 1988).

And while we're on the subject of yellow hair: According to the "Associated Press Stylebook," "blond" is used as a noun for males and as an adjective for all applications. "Blonde" is the noun for a woman with blond hair.