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[tou-uh-ling, tou-ling] /ˈtaʊ ə lɪŋ, ˈtaʊ lɪŋ/
a narrow fabric of cotton or linen, in plain, twill, or huck weave, used for hand towels or dishtowels.
Also, especially British, towelling.
Origin of toweling
First recorded in 1575-85; towel + -ing1


[tou-uh l, toul] /ˈtaʊ əl, taʊl/
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), toweled, toweling or (especially British) towelled, towelling.
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.
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for toweling
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We know it is used for dresses, and sometimes for toweling and upholstery uses.

    Clothing and Health Helen Kinne
  • It is used for toweling and costs about 30 cents per yard, 24 inches wide.

    Clothing and Health Helen Kinne
  • Get three yards or so of toweling and cut off pieces as you need them.

    Camp and Trail Stewart Edward White
  • The largest portion of the sheeting and toweling is made in Scotland.

    Handicraft for Girls Idabelle McGlauflin
  • At my exclamation one of the Halbersons left off toweling and came over to join me.

    Down the Columbia Lewis R. Freeman
  • The end of the toweling entwined itself about one of the dining-tables and held there.

  • The table linen and toweling would be both spun and woven by her hands.

    The American Country Girl Martha Foote Crow
  • A dozen kinds of cloth, from woolen and linen to bedticking and toweling, were woven on the premises.

  • As might have been expected, military and naval subjects occupy a large place among the year's designs for toweling.

British Dictionary definitions for toweling


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 (sense 4)
verb (transitive) -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
to dry or wipe with a towel
(Austral, slang) often foll by up. 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
© 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 toweling



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.



1836, from towel (n.). Related: Towelled; towelling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for toweling


Related Terms

throw in the towel

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with toweling
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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