towel

[tou-uh l, toul]
See more synonyms for towel on Thesaurus.com
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.
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.
Idioms
  1. throw in the towel, Informal. to concede defeat; give up; yield: He vowed he would never throw in the 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

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.
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


Examples from the Web for towelling

Historical Examples of 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.

  • 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

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)
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)

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 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.

towel

v.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with towelling

towel

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.