T Nation

What does this mean?

When somebody says ‘toe (tow?) the line’ what do they mean?

I have heard this term used in different terms, but it generally means ‘form a line’, ‘get your shit in gear’, ‘straighten up’. In basic training my Drill SGT’s used to say it when they wanted us to all stand at attention at the foot of our bunks whenever they wanted to do an inspection, or bitch us out or trash the place because it didn’t meet expectations. Sorry don’t know the origin or actual meaning, just thought I’d reply.

To me it means do what you’re expected to do, follow the straight & narrow & I think it comes from when they used to tow stuff along canals in England and there was no other way to go but along the tow path. Make sense to anyone else?

Follow the rules, quit screwing around, straighten up and fly right, etc.

Under the old London prize ring rules, before the marquis of queensbury rules,I believe the boxers were required to toe the mark or line drawn across the middle of the ring to begin each round. Any boxing historians out there who can verify this?

amra. you are on the money.at the start of the round the ref would say to each pugilist, “gentlemen, toe the line” at the center of the ring