a current of water moving beneath and in a different direction from that of the surface water: said esp. of a seaward current beneath breaking surf
Origin of undertowunder- + tow
- An underwater current flowing strongly away from shore, usually caused by the seaward return of water from waves that have broken against the shore.
- A tendency, especially in thought or feeling, contrary to what seems the strongest: “As she talks nostalgically of her days of glory &ellipsis; a poignant undertow emerges” (Tina Brown).
(third-person singular simple present undertows, present participle undertowing, simple past and past participle undertowed)
From under- +"Ž tow.