Don’t be lightheaded: Toehead vs. towhead

A lot of writers get tripped up on this word’s spelling. Let’s see if we can wind up the string that acts as a tripwire.

When referring to a fair-haired, blond boy or blonde girl, towhead is correct. That’s because one of the lesser-known meanings of tow is a fiber made from flax, hemp or jute used to make thread. This tow is light-colored. Hence, someone with light-colored hair is a towhead.

Toehead, of course, makes no sense. Not all toes are light-colored, of course, depending on your race.