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

Nearby words

  1. tower of silence,
  2. tower of strength,
  3. tower wagon,
  4. tower-mill,
  5. towered,
  6. toweringly,
  7. towerman,
  8. towery,
  9. towhead,
  10. towheaded

Origin of towering

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at tower1, -ing2

Related formstow·er·ing·ly, adverb




a building or structure high in proportion to its lateral dimensions, either isolated or forming part of a building.
such a structure used as or intended for a stronghold, fortress, prison, etc.
any of various fully enclosed fireproof housings for vertical communications, as staircases, between the stories of a building.
any structure, contrivance, or object that resembles or suggests a tower.
a tall, movable structure used in ancient and medieval warfare in storming a fortified place.
a tall, vertical case with accessible horizontal drive bays, designed to house a computer system standing on a desk or floor.Compare minitower.
Aviation. control tower.

verb (used without object)

to rise or extend far upward, as a tower; reach or stand high: The skyscraper towers above the city.
to rise above or surpass others: She towers above the other students.
Falconry. (of a hawk) to rise straight into the air; to ring up.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for towering

British Dictionary definitions for towering



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



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
a place of defence or retreat
a mobile structure used in medieval warfare to attack a castle, etc
tower of strength a person who gives support, comfort, etc


(intr) to be or rise like a tower; loom

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
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

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.