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[tou-er] /ˈtaʊ ər/
a building or structure high in proportion to its lateral dimensions, either isolated or forming part of a building.
such a structure used as or intended for a stronghold, fortress, prison, etc.
any of various fully enclosed fireproof housings for vertical communications, as staircases, between the stories of a building.
any structure, contrivance, or object that resembles or suggests a tower.
a tall, movable structure used in ancient and medieval warfare in storming a fortified place.
a tall, vertical case with accessible horizontal drive bays, designed to house a computer system standing on a desk or floor.
Compare minitower.
Aviation. control tower.
verb (used without object)
to rise or extend far upward, as a tower; reach or stand high:
The skyscraper towers above the city.
to rise above or surpass others:
She towers above the other students.
Falconry. (of a hawk) to rise straight into the air; to ring up.
tower of strength, a person who can be relied on for support, aid, or comfort, especially in times of difficulty.
Origin of tower1
before 900; (noun) Middle English tour, earlier tur, tor < Old French < Latin turris < Greek týrris, variant of týrsis tower; Middle English tor perhaps in some cases continuing Old English torr < Latin turris, as above; (v.) late Middle English touren, derivative of the noun
Related forms
towerless, adjective
towerlike, adjective


[toh-er] /ˈtoʊ ər/
a person or thing that tows.
1485-95; tow1 + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for towers
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We will sack these towers, without the loss of so invaluable a life.

    Calavar Robert Montgomery Bird
  • Along the wall, and not on it, are towers of brick at intervals.

    Four Young Explorers Oliver Optic
  • Let us try the floor above, and the towers; for of a surety they have not come this way.

    The Outlaw of Torn Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • You see two towers in the front of the building shown in the engraving.

    Rollo in London Jacob Abbott
  • Seizing ten towers, of which all the guards were killed, they opened a gate, and the Christian host rushed in.

British Dictionary definitions for towers


a tall, usually square or circular structure, sometimes part of a larger building and usually built for a specific purpose: a church tower, a control tower
a place of defence or retreat
a mobile structure used in medieval warfare to attack a castle, etc
tower of strength, a person who gives support, comfort, etc
(intransitive) to be or rise like a tower; loom
Word Origin
C12: from Old French tur, from Latin turris, from Greek
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 towers



Old English torr, from Latin turris "high structure" (cf. Old French tor, 11c.; Spanish, Italian torre "tower"), possibly from a pre-Indo-European Mediterranean language. Also borrowed separately 13c. as tour, from Old French tur. The modern spelling first recorded in 1520s. Meaning "lofty pile or mass" is recorded from mid-14c.


c.1400; see tower (n.). Related: Towered; towering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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towers in the Bible

of Babel (Gen. 11:4), Edar (Gen. 35:21), Penuel (Judg. 8:9, 17), Shechem (9:46), David (Cant. 4:4), Lebanon (7:4), Syene (Ezek. 29:10), Hananeel (Zech. 14:10), Siloam (Luke 13:4). There were several towers in Jerusalem (2 Chr. 26:9; Ps. 48:12). They were erected for various purposes, as watch-towers in vineyard (Isa. 5:2; Matt. 21:33) and towers for defence.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with towers


In addition to the idiom beginning with tower also see: ivory tower
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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