- an absorbent cloth or paper for wiping and drying something wet, as one for the hands, face, or body after washing or bathing.
- to wipe or dry with a towel.
- throw in the towel, Informal. to concede defeat; give up; yield: He vowed he would never throw in the towel.
Origin of towel
- a narrow fabric of cotton or linen, in plain, twill, or huck weave, used for hand towels or dishtowels.
Origin of toweling
Examples from the Web for towelling
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.The Tower of Oblivion
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
I was in this place having a wash down and towelling vigorously when I heard the steward talking to the cook outside the porthole.Captain Macedoine's Daughter
Their door was open and there was Mademoiselle in her little alpaca dressing-jacket, towelling her head.Pointed Roofs
- an absorbent fabric, esp with a nap, used for making towels, bathrobes, etc
- 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)
- to dry or wipe with a towel
- (often foll by up) Australian slang to assault or beat (a person)
Word Origin and History for towelling
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.