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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2007-07-08 03:39:25

From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

"in tote" for "in tow"

I heard this in the speech of an acquaintance who’s now provided me with a number of eggcorn candidates. I find the phrase interesting because the substituted word is actually less common than the target word. Maybe some speakers find “tow” too nautical or automotive for use with persons or pets, but then again the phrase is used with inanimate objects. Small kids who are “in tow” are often being toted anyhow. On the other hand, I’ve sometimes felt like I really am towing certain children. Hard to get a count on this one – apparently in the thousands for raw hits at least. Examples:

And with kids in tote, she heads to a secret tropical island to rescue her husband. … ibles.html

Located on Myrtle Pond, this home is a casual 5 minute stroll to the beach or Oceanfront pool, with kids in tote. … MSID=PI118

Traveling with Husband in Tote … ml#husband

I will be there with husband in tote Dec. 1-10. … 48980.html

So I continue my walk around the block dogs in tote. … 6d5ed58aML

My husband arrived shortly afterwards with my belongings in tote (packed by my wonderful step-daughter Haley).

Hope you’re able to get in and get out of that dealership, new car in tote! … 300&page=2

I also found an instance in Thoreau’s The Maine Woods in which he feels “tow” is being substituted for “tote” :

The Indian was greatly surprised that we should have taken what he called a ``tow’’ (i. e. tote or toting or supply) road, instead of a carry path, – that we had not followed his tracks, – said it was ``strange,’’ and evidently thought little of our woodcraft.

Last edited by patschwieterman (2007-07-08 03:42:06)



#2 2007-07-08 05:48:35

Peter Forster
From: UK
Registered: 2006-09-06
Posts: 1010

Re: "in tote" for "in tow"

Hmm – curious … the reference to Thoreau and a ‘tote’ road puzzled me, as it looks as if it ought to be ‘toll’. I tried ‘kids in toll’ and several others, yielding one or two hits apiece but gave up on trying to find an alternative image other than kids, dogs etc having a certain financial penalty about them. But then the verb asserted itself and the image of someone intermittently ‘towing’ downwards on a bell rope became a remote possibility. No, I’m fooling myself again, but thanks for the catalyst; it’s a bit like finding empty nests – the eggcorn may have hatched and flown but the search is no less interesting.

She said with a blatant wink before trailing off to hug some unidentified maundering relative with new-found husband in toll. ... – 65k – Supplemental Result – Cached

I headed back to the house with my dog in toll, quite proud of my dog, but very upset at the Helper. It could have turned out very different; ... – 49k – Cached

Since then, travel to Xian, Beijing ,etc….truly enjoyed it..especially with two kids in toll. This time…we’re planning to tour the above destination. ... – 42k – Cached



#3 2007-07-08 13:33:48

From: Austin, Tx
Registered: 2007-04-01
Posts: 179

Re: "in tote" for "in tow"

Perhaps it’s because “tote” is such a more common phrase with what we actually do with things. We tote groceries. We tote backpacks, luggage and laundry. There are far fewer things that we have opportunity to tow; cars and, well, I don’t know what else but that’s the point. If you’re out running errands or doing chores, “tote” is a much more closely associated word with the activity. And hey, who hasn’t had chores or errands associated with bringing the kids or spouse along? Might as well tote them, too.



#4 2007-07-09 23:41:17

From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: "in tote" for "in tow"

Peter—thanks for the “in toll” addition. That hadn’t occurred to me. This reminds me of a post I made long ago on “tolltrucks” and “rollboats,” but alas, it’s one of those posts stuck in our search engine’s blindspot. I may try to scare it up when I get home and can figure out when I posted it.

Booboo—I think you may be right. “Toting” as a metaphor may come much more readily to mind than “towing” when one’s contemplating the day’s chores.



#5 2014-02-06 20:46:33

From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 1101

Re: "in tote" for "in tow"

patschwieterman wrote:

This reminds me of a post I made long ago on “tolltrucks” and “rollboats,” but alas, it’s one of those posts stuck in our search engine’s blindspot.

Toll trucks and roll boats.



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