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#1 2006-01-26 19:11:57

tylerarnold
Member
Registered: 2006-01-26
Posts: 1

'tow the line' for 'toe the line'

I’ve shocked a room full of Brits into silence (during a discussion about the supremacy of British English) by asking them to spell this. Half spelled it one way and half the other, causing much confusion. Great fun.

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#2 2006-01-27 17:44:42

klakritz
Eggcornista
From: Winchester Massachusetts
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 674

Re: 'tow the line' for 'toe the line'

Already in the database.

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#3 2013-10-12 23:41:06

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Santa Rosa, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 650

Re: 'tow the line' for 'toe the line'

Good story, tylerarnold!

Here’s a conversation I stumbled upon online today. One guy “corrects” another thusly:

It’s not “towed” the line. It’s not a rope. The phrase is “toed” the line, as in, someone drew a line in the sand and you are sticking your toe across the line, challenging them.

And another guy responds with a real correction:

Close. Toeing the line means you keep your ties [sic] right at the line without crossing it, thus you are specifically obeying all of the rules and not challenging authority.

It’s nice when we encounter people explaining their understood meanings rather than our having to surmise about them to figure out whether something is an eggcorn or not.

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#4 2014-09-03 15:20:35

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2152

Re: 'tow the line' for 'toe the line'

Lakoff thinks that half of all people understand “toe the line” as “tow the line:” http://chronicle.com/article/Your-Brain … _medium=en

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#5 2014-09-11 23:31:10

yanogator
Eggcornista
Registered: 2007-06-08
Posts: 71

Re: 'tow the line' for 'toe the line'

My guess is that half of that half are simpling writing what they hear without thinking about the meaning at all. For them, it isn’t an eggcorn—just a misspelling.

Bruce

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#6 2014-09-12 00:08:57

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2152

Re: 'tow the line' for 'toe the line'

I’m pretty certain “tow the line” is an eggcorn. The semantic attraction between “line” and “tow,” and the lack of a connection between “line” and “toe” for those who don’t know the story behind the idiom, hatches the eggcorn.

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#7 2014-11-20 15:21:27

David Bird
Eggcornista
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1192

Re: 'tow the line' for 'toe the line'

Mutant cousins.

Little fairy General Caleb wants someone to tote the line for him uh? Goddamn fairy general always had someone there to tote the line, huh?
http://books.google.ca/books?id=Dzx4Gcy … 22&f=false

Tote that line! Lift that barge!

the CAN Boss added that “probably because I don’t toll the line other people tolled”
http://www.daargroup.com/daar-group/lat … ritsejafor

Only the most devote monks are allowed to toll the line.

See also in tote for in tow ; For whom the bell tows by Earnest Hemingway.

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#8 2014-11-20 19:34:36

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Santa Rosa, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 650

Re: 'tow the line' for 'toe the line'

And let’s not forget this mutant cousin .

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