Toe Head

This is the full read-only archive of the "Ask the Wordwizard" section of the original Wordwizard site. The responses to the questions originate from Jonathon Green, the compiler of the Cassell Dictionary of Slang and numerous other dictionaries.
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Toe Head

Post by Archived Topic » Sun Jan 31, 1999 12:00 am

Could you please tell me the origin of the word toe head? Is a word of common usage or slang?
Submitted by Emily Christine (Seattle - U.S.A.)
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Toe Head

Post by Jonathon Green » Tue Feb 02, 1999 8:00 am

I can find toeface and toe queen, not to mention toe jam and toe rag, but toehead: nothing. Could it be that you mean 'towhead', a light-coloured head of hair; also an unkempt or tousled head; a person having such hair. This comes from tow, the fibre of flax, hemp, or jute prepared for spinning. The origin of this 'tow' is doubtful: perhaps related to Old Norse 'tó', uncleansed wool or flax, unworked fibre of thread; which is doubtfully connected with OE. *'tow-' spinning, weaving, and the obsolete Middle Dutch 'touwen' to knit, to weave. The original sense may have been ‘textile fibre’ generally.
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