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towel

[tou-uh l, toul]
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noun
  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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Idioms
  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

toweling

[tou-uh-ling, tou-ling]
noun
  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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

dryobliteraterubmopremovewasherasecleandustexhaustdrainwiltsearevaporateblotwitherdepletebakeshrivelwipe

Examples from the Web for towelling

Historical Examples

  • She rose from the couch, her Turkish towelling drapery flowing far behind her small figure.

    The Mystery of a Turkish Bath

    E.M. Gollan (AKA Rita)

  • "I don't think I'd go beyond the point there," she said as her towelling fell to her feet.

  • His head was soon in a basin of water, and out of it again, and staring at her through a storm of towelling.

    Our Mutual Friend

    Charles Dickens

  • I was in this place having a wash down and towelling vigorously when I heard the steward talking to the cook outside the porthole.

  • Their door was open and there was Mademoiselle in her little alpaca dressing-jacket, towelling her head.

    Pointed Roofs

    Dorothy Richardson


British Dictionary definitions for towelling

towelling

noun
  1. an absorbent fabric, esp with a nap, used for making towels, bathrobes, etc
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towel

noun
  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 towelling

towel

n.

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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towel

v.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with towelling

towel

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.