From Middle English towayle, towel, towail, towaille, from Old French toaille (“towel”) (modern French touaille), from Frankish *þwahilu (“cloth”), from Proto-Germanic *þwahaną (“to wash”). Cognate with Old High German dwahila (“towel”) (modern dialectal German Zwehle), Dutch dwaal (“towel”), dweil (“mop”), Low German Dweel (“towel”), Old English þwǣle (“band; ribbon; fillet”), Old English þwēan (“to wash”).
- enPR: toul, touʹəl
- IPA(key): /taʊl/, /ˈtaʊ.əl/
Audio (US) (file) Audio (UK) (file)
- Rhymes: -aʊl, -aʊəl
towel (plural towels)
- A cloth used for wiping, especially one used for drying anything wet, as a person after a bath.
- → Japanese: タオル (taoru)
- (transitive) To hit with a towel.
- (transitive) To dry by using a towel.
- He got out of the shower and toweled himself dry.
- (transitive) To block up (a door, etc.) with a towel, to conceal the fumes of a recreational drug.
- 2012, Dave Tomar, The Shadow Scholar: How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat:
- We would open the windows, towel the door, and turn my bedroom into an Allman Brothers concert.
- (Britain, dialect, obsolete, transitive) To beat with a stick.
Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for towel in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)
- Alternative form of