n scumbag. Someone worthy of contempt – scoundrel, rotter, that sort of thing. A rather antiquated word. I am reliably informed that the term derives from weaving, where “tow” refers to short bits of fibre left over after combing the longer flax (“line”). Tow can be used as-is for cleaning guns, lighting fires or strangling small children, or it can be made into “tow cloth”; cheap clothing worn by manual labourers. A “tow rag” is a piece of tow cloth which has finished its useful clothing life and is now being used to stop oil dripping out of the car or such like. I can’t help wondering whether “toe-rag” is the Victorian equivalent of “douchebag”.