[tou-uh-ling, tou-ling]


a narrow fabric of cotton or linen, in plain, twill, or huck weave, used for hand towels or dishtowels.

Also especially British, tow·el·ling.

Origin of toweling

First recorded in 1575–85; towel + -ing1


[tou-uh l, toul]


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), tow·eled, tow·el·ing or (especially British) tow·elled, tow·el·ling.

to wipe or dry with a towel.

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

Examples from the Web for toweling

Contemporary Examples of toweling

  • She never finishes her soup and she wears a toweling robe with a certain je ne sais quoi.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Polanski's Brilliant Comeback

    Simon Schama

    February 18, 2010

Historical Examples of toweling

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

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

  • 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



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 (def. 4)

verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled (tr)

to dry or wipe with a towel
(often foll by up) Australian slang to assault or beat (a person)

Word Origin for towel

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.



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with toweling


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

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