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tower1

[tou-er]
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noun
  1. a building or structure high in proportion to its lateral dimensions, either isolated or forming part of a building.
  2. such a structure used as or intended for a stronghold, fortress, prison, etc.
  3. any of various fully enclosed fireproof housings for vertical communications, as staircases, between the stories of a building.
  4. any structure, contrivance, or object that resembles or suggests a tower.
  5. a tall, movable structure used in ancient and medieval warfare in storming a fortified place.
  6. a tall, vertical case with accessible horizontal drive bays, designed to house a computer system standing on a desk or floor.Compare minitower.
  7. Aviation. control tower.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to rise or extend far upward, as a tower; reach or stand high: The skyscraper towers above the city.
  2. to rise above or surpass others: She towers above the other students.
  3. Falconry. (of a hawk) to rise straight into the air; to ring up.
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Idioms
  1. tower of strength, a person who can be relied on for support, aid, or comfort, especially in times of difficulty.
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Origin of tower1

before 900; (noun) Middle English tour, earlier tur, tor < Old French < Latin turris < Greek týrris, variant of týrsis tower; Middle English tor perhaps in some cases continuing Old English torr < Latin turris, as above; (v.) late Middle English touren, derivative of the noun
Related formstow·er·less, adjectivetow·er·like, adjective

tower2

[toh-er]
noun
  1. a person or thing that tows.
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Origin of tower2

First recorded in 1485–95; tow1 + -er1

tow2

[toh]
noun
  1. the fiber of flax, hemp, or jute prepared for spinning by scutching.
  2. the shorter, less desirable flax fibers separated from line fibers in hackling.
  3. synthetic filaments prior to spinning.
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adjective
  1. made of tow.
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Origin of tow2

1300–50; Middle English; Old English tōw- (in tōwlīc pertaining to thread, tōwhūs spinning house); akin to Old Norse wool
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

strongholdlookoutfortificationbelfryskyscrapercolumnpillarspiremastkeepturretobeliskrefugesteeplemonolithcastlecitadelfortressfortminaret

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British Dictionary definitions for tower

tower

noun
  1. a tall, usually square or circular structure, sometimes part of a larger building and usually built for a specific purposea church tower; a control tower
  2. a place of defence or retreat
  3. a mobile structure used in medieval warfare to attack a castle, etc
  4. tower of strength a person who gives support, comfort, etc
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verb
  1. (intr) to be or rise like a tower; loom
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Word Origin

C12: from Old French tur, from Latin turris, from Greek

tow1

verb
  1. (tr) to pull or drag (a vehicle, boat, etc), esp by means of a rope or cable
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noun
  1. the act or an instance of towing
  2. the state of being towed (esp in the phrases in tow, under tow, on tow)
  3. something towed
  4. something used for towing
  5. in tow in one's charge or under one's influence
  6. informal (in motor racing, etc) the act of taking advantage of the slipstream of another car (esp in the phrase get a tow)
  7. short for ski tow
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Derived Formstowable, adjective

Word Origin

Old English togian; related to Old Frisian togia, Old Norse toga, Old High German zogōn

tow2

noun
  1. the fibres of hemp, flax, jute, etc, in the scutched state
  2. synthetic fibres preparatory to spinning
  3. the coarser fibres discarded after combing
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Derived Formstowy, adjective

Word Origin

Old English tōw; related to Old Saxon tou, Old Norse tuft of wool, Dutch touwen to spin
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 tower

n.

Old English torr, from Latin turris "high structure" (cf. Old French tor, 11c.; Spanish, Italian torre "tower"), possibly from a pre-Indo-European Mediterranean language. Also borrowed separately 13c. as tour, from Old French tur. The modern spelling first recorded in 1520s. Meaning "lofty pile or mass" is recorded from mid-14c.

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v.

c.1400; see tower (n.). Related: Towered; towering.

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tow

v.

"pull with a rope," Old English togian "to drag, pull," from Proto-Germanic *tugojanan (cf. Old English teon "to draw," Old Frisian togia "to pull about," Old Norse toga, Old High German zogon, German ziehen "to draw, pull, drag"), from PIE root *deuk- "to pull, draw" (cf. Latin ducere "to lead;" see duke (n.)). Related: Towed; towing. The noun meaning "act or fact of being towed" is recorded from 1620s. Towaway, in reference to parking zones, is recorded from 1956.

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tow

n.

"coarse, broken fibers of flax, hemp, etc.," late 14c., probably from Old English tow- "spinning" (in towlic "fit for spinning"), perhaps cognate with Gothic taujan "to do, make," Middle Dutch touwen "to knit, weave."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with tower

tower

In addition to the idiom beginning with tower

  • tower of strength

also see:

  • ivory tower

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tow

see in tow.

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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.