[ peel-awf, -of ]
/ ˈpilˌɔf, -ˌɒf /


designed to be peeled off from a backing or large sheet, usually of paper, before use; readied for use by peeling off: peel-off labels.

Origin of peel-off

First recorded in 1935–40; adj. use of verb phrase peel off

Definition for peel off (2 of 2)

Origin of peel

before 1100; Middle English pelen, Old English pilian to strip, skin < Latin pilāre to remove hair, derivative of pilus hair. See pill2


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.


peel·a·ble, adjectiveun·peel·a·ble, adjectiveun·peeled, adjective


peal peel Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for peel off (1 of 5)

peel off

verb (adverb)

to remove or be removed by peeling
(intr) slang to undress
(intr) (of an aircraft) to turn away as by banking, and leave a formation
slang to go away or cause to go away

British Dictionary definitions for peel off (2 of 5)

/ (piːl) /



the skin or rind of a fruit, etc
See also peel off

Word Origin for peel

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

British Dictionary definitions for peel off (3 of 5)

/ (piːl) /


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

Word Origin for peel

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

British Dictionary definitions for peel off (4 of 5)

/ (piːl) /


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

Word Origin for peel

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

British Dictionary definitions for peel off (5 of 5)

/ (piːl) /


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)
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 forms of Peel

Peelite, 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

Idioms and Phrases with peel off (1 of 2)

peel off


Remove an outer layer of skin, bark, paint, or the like; also, come off in thin strips or pieces. For example, Peeling off birch bark can kill the tree, or Paint was peeling off the walls. [Late 1500s]


Remove or separate, as in Helen peeled off her gloves and got to work, or Al peeled off a ten-dollar bill and gave it to the driver. [First half of 1900s]


Also, peel away. Depart from a group, as in Ruth peeled off from the pack of runners and went down a back road. This expression originated in air force jargon during World War II and was used for an airplane or pilot that left flight formation, a sight that suggested the peeling of skin from a banana.

Idioms and Phrases with peel off (2 of 2)


In addition to the idiom beginning with peel

  • peel off

also see:

  • keep one's eyes open (peeled)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.