• synonyms


[tou-uh-ling, tou-ling]
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  1. a narrow fabric of cotton or linen, in plain, twill, or huck weave, used for hand towels or dishtowels.
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Also especially British, tow·el·ling.

Origin of toweling

First recorded in 1575–85; towel + -ing1


[tou-uh l, toul]
  1. an absorbent cloth or paper for wiping and drying something wet, as one for the hands, face, or body after washing or bathing.
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verb (used with object), tow·eled, tow·el·ing or (especially British) tow·elled, tow·el·ling.
  1. to wipe or dry with a towel.
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  1. throw in the towel, Informal. to concede defeat; give up; yield: He vowed he would never throw in the towel.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for toweling

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

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

  • We know it is used for dresses, and sometimes for toweling and upholstery uses.

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for toweling


  1. a square or rectangular piece of absorbent cloth or paper used for drying the body
  2. a similar piece of cloth used for drying plates, cutlery, etc
  3. throw in the towel See throw in (def. 4)
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verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled (tr)
  1. to dry or wipe with a towel
  2. (often foll by up) Australian slang to assault or beat (a person)
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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

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.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with toweling


see crying towel; throw in the sponge (towel).

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.