tow-truck (n.) Look up tow-truck at
1920, from tow (v.) + truck (n.).
toward (prep.) Look up toward at
Old English toweard "in the direction of," prepositional use of toweard (adj.) "coming, facing, approaching," from to (see to) + -ward.
towards (adv.) Look up towards at
Old English toweards, from toweard (adj.) "coming, facing, approaching" (see toward) + adverbial genitive ending.
towaway (adj.) Look up towaway at
also tow-away, 1956 in reference to parking zones, from verbal phrase, from tow (v.) + away (adv.).
towel (n.) Look up towel at
mid-13c., from Old French toaille (12c.), from Frankish *thwahlja, from Proto-Germanic *thwahlijan (cognates: Old Saxon thwahila, Middle Dutch dwale "towel," Dutch dwaal "altar cloth," Old High German dwehila "towel," German dialectal Zwehle "napkin"); related to German zwagen, Old English þwean "to wash." Spanish toalla, Italian tovaglia are Germanic loan-words. To throw in the towel "admit defeat" (1915) is from boxing.
towel (v.) Look up towel at
1836 (transitive); 1861 (intransitive), from towel (n.). Related: Towelled; towelling.
towelette (n.) Look up towelette at
1896, originally a trade name, from towel (n.) + -ette.
tower (v.) Look up tower at
c. 1400, "rise high" (implied in towered); see tower (n.). Also, of hawks, "to fly high so as to swoop down on prey" (1590s). Related: Towering.
tower (n.1) Look up tower at
Old English torr "tower, watchtower," from Latin turris "a tower, citadel, high structure" (also source of Old French tor, 11c.; Spanish, Italian torre "tower"), possibly from a pre-Indo-European Mediterranean language. Meaning "lofty pile or mass" is recorded from mid-14c. Also borrowed separately 13c. as tour, from Old French tur; the modern spelling (1520s) represents a merger of the two forms.
tower (n.2) Look up tower at
"one who tows," 1610s, agent noun from tow (v.).
towhead (n.) Look up towhead at
also tow-head, in reference to tousled blond hair, 1830, from tow (n.1) + head (n.). Related: Towheaded.
towhee (n.) Look up towhee at
marsh-robin, 1730, so called for the note of its cry.
town (n.) Look up town at
Old English tun "enclosure, garden, field, yard; farm, manor; homestead, dwelling house, mansion;" later "group of houses, village, farm," from Proto-Germanic *tunaz, *tunan "fortified place" (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Norse, Old Frisian tun "fence, hedge," Middle Dutch tuun "fence," Dutch tuin "garden," Old High German zun, German Zaun "fence, hedge"), an early borrowing from Celtic *dunon "hill, hill-fort" (cognates: Old Irish dun, Welsh din "fortress, fortified place, camp," dinas "city," Gaulish-Latin -dunum in place names), from PIE *dhu-no- "enclosed, fortified place, hill-fort," from root *dheue- "to close, finish, come full circle" (see down (n.2)).

Meaning "inhabited place larger than a village" (mid-12c.) arose after the Norman conquest from the use of this word to correspond to French ville. The modern word is partially a generic term, applicable to cities of great size as well as places intermediate between a city and a village; such use is unusual, the only parallel is perhaps Latin oppidium, which occasionally was applied even to Rome or Athens (each of which was more properly an urbs).

First record of town hall is from late 15c. Town ball, version of baseball, is recorded from 1852. Town car (1907) originally was a motor car with an enclosed passenger compartment and open driver's seat. On the town "living the high life" is from 1712. Go to town "do (something) energetically" is first recorded 1933. Man about town "one constantly seen at public and private functions" is attested from 1734.
townhouse (n.) Look up townhouse at
1825, "a residence in a town," from town + house (n.) from a time when well-off families had country houses as well. As a type of suburban attached housing, c. 1968, American English.
townie (n.) Look up townie at
also townee "townsman, one raised in a town," 1827, often opposed to the university students or circus workers who were just passing through, from town + -ie.
township (n.) Look up township at
Old English tunscipe "inhabitants or population of a town;" see town + -ship. Applied in Middle English to "manor, parish, or other division of a hundred." Specific sense of "local division or district in a parish, each with a village or small town and its own church" is from 1530s; as a local municipal division of a county in U.S. and Canada, first recorded 1685. In South Africa, "area set aside for non-whites" from 1934.
townspeople (n.) Look up townspeople at
1640s, from genitive of town + people.
toxemia (n.) Look up toxemia at
"blood-poisoning," also toxaemia, 1848, from toxo- (before vowels tox-, comb. form of Greek toxon (see toxic)) + Greek haima "blood" (see -emia).
toxic (adj.) Look up toxic at
1660s, from French toxique and directly from Late Latin toxicus "poisoned," from Latin toxicum "poison," from Greek toxikon (pharmakon) "(poison) for use on arrows," from toxikon, neuter of toxikos "pertaining to arrows or archery," and thus to a bow, from toxon "bow," probably from a Scythian word that also was borrowed into Latin as taxus "yew." Watkins suggests a possible source in Iranian taxša- "bow," from PIE *tekw- "to run, flee." As a noun from 1890.
toxicity (n.) Look up toxicity at
"state of being toxic," 1880, from toxic + -ity.
toxicology (n.) Look up toxicology at
1815, from French toxicologie (1812), from comb. form of Greek toxikon "arrow poison" (see toxic) + -logia (see -logy). Related: Toxicological; toxicologist.
toxin (n.) Look up toxin at
"organic poison," especially one produced by bacteria in an animal body, 1886, from toxic + -in (2).
toxoplasmosis (n.) Look up toxoplasmosis at
1977, from toxoplasma (1926), coined 1909 in French from toxo-, comb. form of Greek toxon (see toxic) + plasma (see plasma) + -osis.
toy (n.) Look up toy at
c. 1300, "amorous playing, sport," later "piece of fun or entertainment" (c. 1500), "thing of little value, trifle" (1520s), and "thing for a child to play with" (1580s). Of uncertain origin, and there may be more than one word here. Compare Middle Dutch toy, Dutch tuig "tools, apparatus; stuff, trash," in speeltuig "play-toy, plaything;" German Zeug "stuff, matter, tools," Spielzeug "plaything, toy;" Danish tøi, Swedish tyg "stuff, gear." Applied as an adjective to things of diminutive size, especially dogs, from 1806. Toy-boy is from 1981.
toy (v.) Look up toy at
"deal carelessly (with), trifle," 1520s, from toy (n.) in its older sense.
If he be merie and toy with any,
His wife will frowne, and words geve manye.
["Song of the Bachelor's Life," 16c.]
Related: Toyed; toying.
toy-box (n.) Look up toy-box at
also toybox, 1819, from toy (n.) + box (n.).
Toyota Look up Toyota at
Japanese automaker, begun 1930s as a division of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, named for the family name of the founder. There seems to be no one accepted explanation for the change from -d- to -t-.
trace (v.) Look up trace at
late 14c., "follow (a course); draw a line, make an outline of something," also figurative; "ponder, investigate," from Old French tracier "look for, follow, pursue" (12c., Modern French tracer), from Vulgar Latin *tractiare "delineate, score, trace" (source also of Spanish trazar "to trace, devise, plan out," Italian tracciare "to follow by foot"), a frequentative form from Latin tractus "track, course," literally "a drawing out," from past participle stem of trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)).

Meaning "move along, pass over" (a path, etc.) is attested from c. 1400; that of "track down, follow the trail of" is early 15c. Meaning "copy a drawing on a transparent sheet laid over it" is recorded from 1762. Related: Traced; tracing.
trace (n.1) Look up trace at
"track made by passage of a person or thing," c. 1300, from Old French trace "mark, imprint, tracks" (12c.), back-formation from tracier (see trace (v.)). Scientific sense of "indication of minute presence in some chemical compound" is from 1827. Traces "vestiges" is from c. 1400.
trace (n.2) Look up trace at
"straps or chains by which an animal pulls a vehicle," c. 1300, from earlier collective plural trays, from Old French traiz, plural of trait "strap for harnessing, act of drawing," from Latin tractus "a drawing, track," from stem of trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)). Related: Traces.
traceable (adj.) Look up traceable at
1748, from trace (v.) + -able. Related: Traceability.
tracer (n.) Look up tracer at
c. 1500, "one who tracks or searches," agent noun from verb form of trace (n.1). Meaning "bullet whose course is made visible" is from 1910.
tracery (n.) Look up tracery at
mid-15c., "a place for drawing," formed in English from trace (v.) + -ery. Architectural sense, in reference to intersecting rib work in the upper part of a gothic window, is attested from 1660s. "Introduced by Wren, who described it as a masons' term" [Weekley].
trachea (n.) Look up trachea at
late 14c., from Medieval Latin trachea (13c.), as in trachea arteria, from Late Latin trachia, from Greek trakheia, in trakheia arteria "windpipe," literally "rough artery" (so called from the rings of cartilage that form the trachea), from fem. of trakhys "rough," from PIE *dhre-gh-, suffixed form of root *dher- (1). See artery for connection with windpipe in Greek science. Related: Tracheal.
tracheostomy (n.) Look up tracheostomy at
1726, from tracheo-, used as a comb. form of trachea + -ostomy "artificial opening," from Modern Latin stoma "opening, orifice," from Greek stoma "mouth" (see stoma).
tracheotomy (n.) Look up tracheotomy at
1726, Modern Latin, coined 1718 by German surgeon Lorenz Heister (1683-1758); see trachea + -tomy.
trachoma (n.) Look up trachoma at
disease of the eyes, 1690s, from Modern Latin trachoma, from Greek trakhoma "roughness," from trakhys "rough."
track (n.) Look up track at
late 15c., "footprint, mark left by anything," from Old French trac "track of horses, trace" (mid-15c.), possibly from a Germanic source (compare Middle Low German treck, Dutch trek "drawing, pulling;" see trek). Meaning "lines of rails for drawing trains" is from 1805. Meaning "branch of athletics involving a running track" is recorded from 1905. Meaning "single recorded item" is from 1904, originally in reference to phonograph records. Meaning "mark on skin from repeated drug injection" is first attested 1964.

Track record (1955) is a figurative use from racing, "performance history" of an individual car, runner, horse, etc. (1907, but the phrase was more common in sense "fastest speed recorded at a particular track"). To make tracks "move quickly" is American English colloquial first recorded 1835; to cover (one's) tracks in the figurative sense first attested 1898; to keep track of something is attested from 1883. American English wrong side of the tracks "bad part of town" is by 1901. Track lighting attested from 1970.
track (v.) Look up track at
"to follow or trace the footsteps of," 1560s, from track (n.). Meaning "leave a footprint trail in dirt, mud, etc." is from 1838. Of film and TV cameras, 1959. Related: Tracked; tracking.
tracker (n.) Look up tracker at
1610s, agent noun from track (v.).
trackless (adj.) Look up trackless at
"pathless, untrodden," 1650s, from track (n.) + -less.
tract (n.1) Look up tract at
"area," mid-15c., "period or lapse of time," from Latin tractus "track, course, space, duration," lit, "a drawing out or pulling," from stem of trahere "to pull, draw," from PIE root *tragh- "to draw, drag, move" (cognates: Slovenian trag "trace, track," Middle Irish tragud "ebb;" perhaps with a variant form *dhragh-; see drag (v.)). The meaning "stretch of land or water" is first recorded 1550s. Specific U.S. sense of "plot of land for development" is recorded from 1912; tract housing attested from 1953.
tract (n.2) Look up tract at
"little book, treatise" mid-12c., probably a shortened form of Latin tractatus "a handling, treatise, treatment," from tractare "to handle" (see treat (v.)). Related: Tractarian.
tractable (adj.) Look up tractable at
"manageable," early 15c., from Latin tractabilis "that may be touched or handled, workable, tangible, manageable," figuratively, "pliant," from tractare "to handle, manage" (see treat (v.)). Related: Tractability.
traction (n.) Look up traction at
early 15c., "a drawing or pulling" (originally the pulling of a dislocated limb to reposition it), from Medieval Latin tractionem (nominative tractio) "a drawing" (mid-13c.), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)). Sense of "rolling friction of a vehicle" first appears 1825. In modern medical care, "a sustained pull to a part of the body to hold fractured bones in position," 1885.
tractor (n.) Look up tractor at
1856, "something that pulls," from Modern Latin tractor "that which draws," agent noun from past participle stem of Latin trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)). Earlier used of a quack device consisting of two metal rods which were supposed to relieve rheumatism (1798, in full Perkins's metallic tractor); still the main sense in Century Dictionary (1891).

Sense of "an engine or vehicle for pulling wagons or plows" is recorded by 1896, from earlier traction engine (1859). The meaning "powerful truck for pulling a freight trailer" is first found 1926; tractor-trailer as "combined motor-truck and trailer" is from 1914.
trad (adj.) Look up trad at
1956, slang shortening of traditional jazz. Its general slang use for "traditional" is recorded from 1963.
trade (n.) Look up trade at
late 14c., "path, track, course of action," introduced by the Hanse merchants, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German trade "track, course" (probably originally of a ship), cognate with Old English tredan (see tread (v.)).

Sense of "one's habitual business" (1540s) developed from the notion of "way, course, manner of life" (mid-15c.); sense of "buying and selling, exchange of commodities" is from 1550s. Meaning "act of trading" is from 1829. Trade-name is from 1821; trade-route is from 1873; trade-war is from 1899. Trade union is attested from 1831. Trade wind (1640s) has nothing to do with commerce, but preserves the obsolete sense of "in a habitual or regular course."
trade (v.) Look up trade at
1540s, "to tread a path," from trade (n.). Meaning "to occupy oneself (in something)" is recorded from c. 1600. Meaning "to barter" is by 1793. The U.S. sports team sense of "to exchange one player for another" is attested from 1899. Related: Traded; trading. To trade down is attested from 1942; trade up from 1959. Trade places "exchange situations" is from 1917. Trading post is recorded from 1796. Trading stamp, given by merchants and exchangeable for goods, is from 1897.
trade-in (n.) Look up trade-in at
1917, in reference to used cars, from verbal phrase, from trade (v.) + in (adv.).