Word Origin See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com an absorbent cloth or paper for wiping and drying something wet, as one for the hands, face, or body after washing or bathing. verb (used with object), tow·eled, tow·el·ing or ( especially British) tow·elled, tow·el·ling. to wipe or dry with a towel. throw in the towel, . Informal to concede defeat; give up; yield: He vowed he would never throw in the towel. Origin of towel 1250–1300; Middle English (noun) < Old French toaille cloth for washing or wiping < West Germanic *thwahliō (> Old High German dwahilla, akin to dwahal bath); cognate with Gothic thwahl, thwēal washing
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for throw in the towel a square or rectangular piece of absorbent cloth or paper used for drying the body a similar piece of cloth used for drying plates, cutlery, etc throw in the towel See throw in (def. 4) verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled (tr) to dry or wipe with a towel (often foll by up) Australian slang to assault or beat (a person) Word Origin
C13: from Old French
toaille, of Germanic origin; related to Old High German dwahal bath, Old Saxon twahila towel, Gothic thwahan to wash
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for throw in the towel towel n.
late 13c., from Old French
toaille (12c.), from Frankish *thwahlja, from Proto-Germanic *thwakhlijon (cf. Old Saxon thwahila, Middle Dutch dwale "towel," Dutch dwaal "altar cloth," Old High German dwehila "towel," German dialectal Zwehle "napkin"); related to German zwagen, Old English þwean "to wash." Spanish toalla, Italian tovaglia are Germanic loan-words. towel v.
towel (n.). Related: Towelled; towelling.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
throw in the towel in Culture
To quit in defeat. The
phrase comes from boxing, in which a fighter indicates surrender by throwing a towel into the ring: “After losing the election, he threw in the towel on his political career.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Idioms and Phrases with throw in the towel towel
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.