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Toe vs. Tow the Line

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A pair of listeners from Memphis, Tennessee, disagree about an expression that means “to conform to a standard” or “to adhere to a rule.” Is it toe the line or tow the line? The correct phrase is toe the line. Picture soldiers all standing in rigid formation, with their toes right up to a straight line, or athletes all lining up at the start of a race. Similar phrases from the 19th century include toe the scratch or toe the mark, but toe the line is the one that stuck around. This is part of a complete episode.

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