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[tahyl] /taɪl/
a thin slab or bent piece of baked clay, sometimes painted or glazed, used for various purposes, as to form one of the units of a roof covering, floor, or revetment.
any of various similar slabs or pieces, as of linoleum, stone, rubber, or metal.
tiles collectively.
a pottery tube or pipe used for draining land.
Also called hollow tile. any of various hollow or cellular units of burnt clay or other materials, as gypsum or cinder concrete, for building walls, partitions, floors, and roofs, or for fireproofing steelwork or the like.
Informal. a stiff hat or high silk hat.
verb (used with object), tiled, tiling.
to cover with or as with tiles.
Origin of tile
before 900; Middle English; Old English tīgele (cognate with German Ziegel) < Latin tēgula
Related forms
tilelike, adjective
retile, verb (used with object), retiled, retiling. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tile
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I was thinking that accidents happen daily, that a foot may slip, a tile may fall.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
  • He sprang on the tile floor, saying to himself that he would be warm at night.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
  • There are eight or ten tile factories in Puebla, and one glass manufactory.

    Aztec Land Maturin M. Ballou
  • He was perfectly straightforward about it—as straightforward as a tile falling on your head.

    Falk Joseph Conrad
  • And the said frame, stage, and staircases to be covered with tile.

    Shakespearean Playhouses

    Joseph Quincy Adams
British Dictionary definitions for tile


a flat thin slab of fired clay, rubber, linoleum, etc, usually square or rectangular and sometimes ornamental, used with others to cover a roof, floor, wall, etc related adjective tegular
a short pipe made of earthenware, concrete, or plastic, used with others to form a drain
tiles collectively
a rectangular block used as a playing piece in mah jong and other games
(Brit, old-fashioned, slang) a hat
(informal) on the tiles, on a spree, esp of drinking or debauchery
(transitive) to cover with tiles
Derived Forms
tiler, noun
Word Origin
Old English tīgele, from Latin tēgula; related to German Ziegel
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
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Word Origin and History for tile

Old English tigele "roofing shingle," from West Germanic *tegala (cf. Old High German ziagal, German ziegel, Dutch tegel, Old Norse tigl), a borrowing from Latin tegula "tile" (cf. Italian tegola, French tuile), from tegere "roof, to cover" (see stegosaurus). Also used in Old English and early Middle English for "brick," before that word came into use. The verb meaning "to cover with tiles" is recorded from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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