Posted by: Jack Henry | October 27, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Towheads

I’ve used this word before, but I’ve also wondered where it came from. Maybe my confusion was thinking that it was spelled “toe head”? For your reading entertainment on towheads, I have a short article for you, with additional examples here, at the Grammarist.

A towhead is a person with very light, blond or yellow-colored hair. The adjective form is towheaded, and either word may be hyphenated as in tow-head and tow-headed. Towhead is first seen in 1830. Tow is another word for flax, jute or hemp that is ready for spinning. Flax and hemp that is prepared for spinning is light-colored, hence a person with hair that is exceedingly light-colored or yellow would be a towhead. The word tow meaning fiber ready to spin appears in the fourteenth century, probably from the Old Norse word to, meaning uncleaned wool or flax, unworked fiber of thread. Towheaded children’s hair often darkens as they age into adulthood

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

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