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Computergenius's avatar

Have you heard of toehead?

Asked by Computergenius (258points) November 14th, 2008 from iPhone

Our daughter was born with platinum blonde hair and people always refer to her as a toehead. I know it means very blonde, but where did the term toehead come from?

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8 Answers

adri027's avatar

full house.

ccrash3's avatar

‘Toe head’ should be ‘tow head’. This is a US phrase and the reference to is to ‘tow’, which is the light-coloured fibre of flax, hemp, or jute. ‘Tow-headed’ is having tousled blond hair. This dates back to the 19th century.

I googled this…

galileogirl's avatar

Actually it refers to the natural white/blond hair that you often see on small working class and Southern children. My grandfather hated that my mother married “beneath” her and he always referred to us as “those towheaded little bastards”

asmonet's avatar

<—is towheaded.

augustlan's avatar

@GG: Nice grandpa, huh? What a meanie!

amurican's avatar

Are you sure its not two?

La_chica_gomela's avatar

ccrash is right – it’s usually written “tow-head” or “towhead”. the word “tow” meaning light-colored dates back to about 1601, and the combination “tow-head” dates to around 1901.

when i looked it up, the OED said in addition to meaning light-colored hair, it also refers to “also an unkempt or tousled head; a person having such hair” – i had never heard that definition before.

one of the earliest references is, “Little Europena, with baby wisdom, put her tow head under the cloth.” (A. H. Rice 1901) – what an odd thing to say, huh?

also for me personally, ‘tow-head’ has the connotation of very light almost white hair that will most likely turn darker as the child ages. that wasn’t in the OED, but i guess i think of it that way, because tow-head almost always refers to children. you never hear anyone talk about a grown man or woman with platinum hair called a “towhead” – it just sounds odd.

scamp's avatar

My grandpa called me two head too, but I liked it because he was so good to me. He also called me susie, which isn’t my name, but I liked that too! I found this on the subject.

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