tou, noun

Also touw, tow.
Dutch, Afrikaans, Show more Dutch touw (later Afrikaans tou); cf. English tow.
1. Rope; a rope or thong, especially one by which a team of oxen is led. See also touleier, trektou sense a, voortou.
1824 G. Barker Journal. 23 Feb.Could not procure Duplicates of the cirtificates of pension, as Major Somerset was absent from home, nor did I receive payment for the tow for the same reason.
a1858 J. Goldswain Chron. (1946) I. 66They leaders was forst to lay hold of the toe and they drivers had to walk to keep the Oxen [from] turning round as the Storm was beating in the frunt of the Oxen.
1914 Farmer’s Annual 43The filthy hands of the milkers from grasping dirty sticks and span tows.
1928 N. Devitt Blue Lizard 125The latter was to throw the head riem — the touw, as transport riders call it — on to the horns of the front oxen as they entered the water.
1937 H. Sauer Ex Afr. 124The voorloper — the native who watches the oxen while feeding and takes the ‘tow’ on difficult or congested portions of the road.
1938 F.C. Slater Trek 43O’er stones and scrub we’ll rattle and rub — So stretch the touw, and on we’ll go.
1941 A.G. Bee Kalahari Camp Fires (1943) 71The youngster hung on to them and tried to drag them back when suddenly we heard him shriek as the lion snatched him away from the ‘touw’ (leading thong) round the oxen’s horns.
1948 H. Wolhuter Mem. of Game Ranger 9I would assist him with the herding of the oxen; cook his food; take the tow (the leading ‘riem’ attached to the heads of the two front oxen so that the team could be led when necessary).
2. With defining word: bush tou, monkey-rope.
1832 Graham’s Town Jrnl 12 Oct. 162Prisoner had a rope made of ‘bush touw,’ which he put round the neck of the hottentot and strangled him.
3. combination.
toutrek /ˈtəʊtrek/ [Afrikaans, trek pull], ‘tug-of-war’, a popular game at boeresport gatherings.
1970 Argus 24 Dec. 21There will be the toutrek (tug-o’-war) and kussingslaan (cushion fights on greased poles).
1990 [see volkspele].
Rope; a rope or thong, especially one by which a team of oxen is led.
bush tou, monkey-rope.
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