tow·​boat | \ ˈtō-ˌbōt How to pronounce towboat (audio) \

Definition of towboat

1 : tugboat
2 : a compact shallow-draft boat with a squared bow designed and fitted for pushing tows of barges on inland waterways

Examples of towboat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The American Waterways Operators, which represents the tugboat, towboat, and barge industry, filed the lawsuit last year against the US Coast Guard, part of a series of legal challenges that began in 2005 against the tugboat requirement. Joshua Miller,, "Healey, blasting oil barge industry, looks to protect Mass. tugboat escort law," 24 June 2019 Two towboats have guided the barge down the Mississippi River and are towing it up the Ohio River to its temporary construction site in Covington. Chris Mayhew,, "BB Riverboats new Ohio River cruise hub and bar arrives July 4," 3 July 2018 According to a statement from regional emergency officials, a barge being pulled by a towboat collided with a paddleboat carrying 16 people on a sightseeing tour. Fox News, "11 dead as boats collide in Russian city hosting World Cup," 13 June 2018 Twice a year, this towboat turns into a floating hotel and conference center to allow the public to vent to the seven people with power to chart the river's future. The Washington Post,, "Taming the mighty Mississippi: Troubles run deep in changing national waterway," 17 Mar. 2018 Not far from the mat-sinking unit, on a stifling summer day in Vicksburg, more than 100 people climbed aboard the nation's largest towboat, the M/V Mississippi, and took refuge in the air conditioning of the vessel's ornate meeting room. The Washington Post,, "Taming the mighty Mississippi: Troubles run deep in changing national waterway," 17 Mar. 2018 What the train’s passengers didn’t know was that minutes before the derailment, the towboat MV Mauvilla was lugging six barges loaded with coal and cement up the river to Birmingham. Marwa Eltagouri, Washington Post, "The deadliest bridge collapses in U.S. history," 16 Mar. 2018 The 2½-day session is held in Houston at least once a year to bring together the towboat industry, Coast Guard and Houston Pilots. Andrea Rumbaugh, The Seattle Times, "Communication key to monitoring Houston Ship Channel traffic," 14 Jan. 2018 Higman's fleet consists of 159 inland tank barges, with 4.8 million barrels of capacity, and 75 inland towboats. Andrea Rumbaugh, Houston Chronicle, "Kirby Corp. to acquire Higman Marine," 5 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'towboat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of towboat

1815, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about towboat

Dictionary Entries near towboat


tow-away zone

tow bar


tow bug

tow car

tow cloth

Statistics for towboat

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for towboat

The first known use of towboat was in 1815

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on towboat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with towboat

Comments on towboat

What made you want to look up towboat? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealment of treason or felony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!