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We generally refer to a blond youngster as a 'towhead'. Where does this term come from?

Question #4001. Asked by JReid.
Last updated Mar 05 2017.

Answer has 12 votes
Currently Best Answer
24 year member
123 replies

Answer has 12 votes.

Currently voted the best answer.
Tow means 'flax or hemp fiber', and so tow headed is literally 'flaxen haired'. This meaning of tow comes from Middle Low German touw (which means 'flax, hemp fiber').


Response last updated by postcards2go on Aug 20 2016.
Aug 28 2000, 5:19 AM
Answer has 9 votes

Answer has 9 votes.
A towhead is one with fair hair, typically white-blond. Blondness in youngsters is rampant while scarce in adults, as hair tends to darken with age. Know that this term is not restricted to a child. This relates to "tow," coarse broken flax or hemp fiber prepared for spinning. The word compares the colors of flax and fair hair. "Flaxen" and "towheaded" are totally synonymous.


Response last updated by gtho4 on Mar 05 2017.
Nov 15 2006, 6:55 PM
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