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peel1

[peel]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to strip (something) of its skin, rind, bark, etc.: to peel an orange.
  2. to strip (the skin, rind, bark, paint, etc.) from something: to peel paint from a car.
  3. Croquet. to cause (another player's ball) to go through a wicket.
verb (used without object)
  1. (of skin, bark, paint, etc.) to come off; become separated.
  2. to lose the skin, rind, bark, paint, etc.
  3. Informal. to undress.
  4. Metallurgy. (of a malleable iron casting) to lose, or tend to lose, the outer layer.
noun
  1. the skin or rind of a fruit, vegetable, etc.
  2. Metallurgy. the presence of a brittle outer layer on a malleable iron casting.
Verb Phrases
  1. peel off,
    1. to remove (the skin, bark, etc.) or be removed: The old skin peeled off.
    2. Aeronautics.to leave a flying formation of aircraft with a banking turn, usually from one end of an echelon.
    3. Informal.to turn off or leave (a road): We peeled off the highway onto a dirt road.
    4. to remove (clothing) in a swift upward or downward motion.
Idioms
  1. keep one's eyes peeled, Informal. to watch closely or carefully; be alert: Keep your eyes peeled for a gas station.

Origin of peel1

before 1100; Middle English pelen, Old English pilian to strip, skin < Latin pilāre to remove hair, derivative of pilus hair. See pill2
Related formspeel·a·ble, adjectiveun·peel·a·ble, adjectiveun·peeled, adjective
Can be confusedpeal peel

Synonyms

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1. Peel, pare agree in meaning to remove the skin or rind from something. Peel means to pull or strip off the natural external covering or protection of something: to peel an orange, a potato. Pare is used of trimming off chips, flakes, or superficial parts from something, as well as of cutting off the skin or rind: to pare the nails; to pare a potato.

peel2

[peel]
noun
  1. a shovellike implement for putting bread, pies, etc., into the oven or taking them out.
  2. Metallurgy. a long, shovellike iron tool for charging an open-hearth furnace.

Origin of peel2

1350–1400; Middle English pele < Middle French < Latin pāla spade. See palette

peel3

or pele

[peel]
noun
  1. a small fortified tower for residence or for use during an attack, common in the border counties of England and Scotland in the 16th century.

Origin of peel3

1250–1300; Middle English pele fortress < Anglo-French pel stockade, Middle French pel stake < Latin pālus stake. See pale2

Peel

[peel]
noun
  1. Sir Robert,1788–1850, British political leader: founder of the London constabulary; prime minister 1834–35; 1841–46.
  2. a seaport on W Isle of Man: castle; resort.
  3. a river in N Yukon Territory and NW Northwest Territories, Canada, flowing E and N to the Mackenzie River. 425 miles (684 km) long.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for peel

peel1

verb
  1. (tr) to remove (the skin, rind, outer covering, etc) of (a fruit, egg, etc)
  2. (intr) (of paint, etc) to be removed from a surface, esp through weathering
  3. (intr) (of a surface) to lose its outer covering of paint, etc esp through weathering
  4. (intr) (of a person or part of the body) to shed skin in flakes or (of skin) to be shed in flakes, esp as a result of sunburn
  5. croquet to put (another player's ball) through a hoop or hoops
  6. keep one's eyes peeled or keep one's eyes skinned to watch vigilantly
noun
  1. the skin or rind of a fruit, etc
See also peel off

Word Origin

Old English pilian to strip off the outer layer, from Latin pilāre to make bald, from pilus a hair

peel2

noun
  1. a long-handled shovel used by bakers for moving bread, in an oven

Word Origin

C14 pele, from Old French, from Latin pāla spade, from pangere to drive in; see palette

peel3

noun
  1. (in Britain) a fortified tower of the 16th century on the borders between England and Scotland, built to withstand raids

Word Origin

C14 (fence made of stakes): from Old French piel stake, from Latin pālus; see pale ², paling

Peel

noun
  1. John, real name John Robert Parker Ravenscroft . 1939–2004, British broadcaster; presented his influential Radio 1 music programme (1967–2004) and Radio 4's Home Truths (1998–2004)
  2. Sir Robert. 1788–1850, British statesman; Conservative prime minister (1834–35; 1841–46). As Home Secretary (1828–30) he founded the Metropolitan Police and in his second ministry carried through a series of free-trade budgets culminating in the repeal of the Corn Laws (1846), which split the Tory party
Derived FormsPeelite, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for peel

v.

"to strip off," developed from Old English pilian "to peel, skin, decorticate, strip the skin or ring," and Old French pillier, both from Latin pilare "to strip of hair," from pilus "hair" (see pile (n.3)). Probably also influenced by Latin pellis "skin, hide." Related: Peeled; peeling. Figurative expression keep (one's) eyes peeled be observant, be on the alert" is from 1853, American English.

n.2

"shovel-shaped instrument" used by bakers, etc., c.1400, from Old French pele (Modern French pelle) "shovel," from Latin pala "spade, shovel, baker's peel," of unknown origin.

n.1

piece of rind or skin, 1580s, from earlier pill, pile (late 14c.), from peel (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with peel

peel

In addition to the idiom beginning with peel

also see:

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.