• synonyms


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  1. very high or tall; lofty: a towering oak.
  2. surpassing others; very great: a towering figure in American poetry.
  3. rising to an extreme degree of violence or intensity: a towering rage.
  4. beyond the proper or usual limits; inordinate; excessive: towering pride; towering ambitions.
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Origin of towering

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at tower1, -ing2
Related formstow·er·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for towering

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1. elevated. See high.

Antonyms for towering

1. short.


  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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  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 tower

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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for towering

stately, imposing, magnificent, monumental, colossal, soaring, mighty, massive, prodigious, tall, gigantic, lofty, sublime, elevated, surpassing, aerial, airy, extraordinary, extravagant, extreme

Examples from the Web for towering

Contemporary Examples of towering

Historical Examples of towering

British Dictionary definitions for towering


  1. very tall; lofty
  2. outstanding, as in importance or stature
  3. (prenominal) very intensea towering rage
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Derived Formstoweringly, adverb


  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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  1. (intr) to be or rise like a tower; loom
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Word Origin for tower

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



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with towering


In addition to the idiom beginning with tower

  • tower of strength

also see:

  • ivory tower

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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.