peel

1 of 4

verb

peeled; peeling; peels

transitive verb

1
: to strip off an outer layer of
peel an orange
2
: to remove by stripping
peel the label off the can

intransitive verb

1
a
: to come off in sheets or scales
The paint is peeling.
b
: to lose an outer layer (as of skin)
His face is peeling.
2
: to take off one's clothes
it got hotter … you had to peel to get reliefL. M. Uris
3
: to break away from a group or formation
often used with off
Like corals, the branches of sponges can peel off and reestablish themselves as new colonies. Natural History
peelable adjective

peel

2 of 4

noun (1)

1
: the skin or rind of a fruit or vegetable
banana/lemon/potato peels
2
: a thin layer of organic material that is embedded in a film of collodion and stripped from the surface of an object (such as a plant fossil) for microscopic study
3

peel

3 of 4

noun (2)

: a usually long-handled spade-shaped instrument that is used chiefly by bakers for getting something (such as bread or pies) into or out of the oven

peel

4 of 4

noun (3)

: a medieval small massive fortified tower along the Scottish-English border

called also peel tower

Examples of peel in a Sentence

Verb They peeled back the sheet to display the new sculpture. She got sunburned and her back is peeling.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Reviewers often linked the two writers’ names, partly because both had mastered a subtle peeling back of layers to reveal their characters. Mary Rourke, Los Angeles Times, 14 May 2024 These work together to stimulate growth while minimizing dryness and peeling. Kayla Hui, Mph, Verywell Health, 13 May 2024 English cucumber, peeled 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish (from 1 [1-oz.] package) 2 Tbsp. sour cream 1/4 tsp. Liv Dansky, Southern Living, 12 May 2024 Think of every insight and lesson as a chance to peel back the layers of an onion. Lisa Stardust, Peoplemag, 10 May 2024 Diana peeled crab for Jamie’s mixed grill entree as a kid, and returned to do kitchen prep while enrolled in American River College’s culinary arts program, mostly to spend time with her mom. Benjy Egel, Sacramento Bee, 10 May 2024 The actual peeling back of layers is generally less wild (though the one formally experimental episode playing with our three protagonists’ perspectives is probably my favorite of the season), less amusing, less provocative and less thrilling, but perhaps more emotionally grounded. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 May 2024 Some people peel fruits and vegetables to get rid of pesticide residue. Avery Hurt, Discover Magazine, 8 May 2024 Other common issues in Jackson County rentals include mold and mildew, which can lead to asthma and respiratory problems, and peeling or chipping paint, which can cause harmful lead exposure. Natalie Wallington, Kansas City Star, 7 May 2024
Noun
Weak nails may split, crack, or peel, making everyday activities like buttoning a shirt or picking a coin up off the floor challenging. Kayla Hui, Mph, Verywell Health, 13 May 2024 Salt rounds out the flavor, peppercorns add a hint of spice, and lemon peel provides color and a citrusy boost. Ingredients for Pickled Strawberries Just eight ingredients are needed for this unexpected condiment that's surprisingly versatile. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 12 May 2024 Orange peel, on the other hand, is a perfect match for the flavors. Jason O'Bryan, Robb Report, 11 May 2024 Nutritional status, antioxidant activity and total phenolic content of different fruits and vegetables’ peels Amy Bragagnini. Avery Hurt, Discover Magazine, 8 May 2024 The Timberwolves placing the banana peel under the Nuggets is not entirely a surprise. Troy Renck, The Denver Post, 6 May 2024 After an hour-long facial (prices start at $159) which included thorough extractions and a pumpkin enzyme peel, my skin was transformed. Annie Blay, Allure, 11 Apr. 2024 Brilliant straw colored, this enticing wine has aromas of mandarin peel, citrus blossom, and white peach. Mike Desimone and Jeff Jenssen, Robb Report, 4 Apr. 2024 Pro tip: Use bananas whose peels have gone mostly black for the best flavor. Kevinisha Walker, Los Angeles Times, 30 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'peel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb and Noun (1)

Middle English pelen, from Anglo-French peler, from Latin pilare to remove the hair from, from pilus hair

Noun (2)

Middle English pele, from Anglo-French, from Latin pala

Noun (3)

Middle English (Scots) pel, from Middle English, stockade, stake, from Anglo-French, stake, from Latin palus — more at pole

First Known Use

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

1726, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of peel was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near peel

Cite this Entry

“Peel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/peel. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

peel

1 of 2 verb
1
: to strip off an outer layer of
peel an apple
2
: to strip or tear off
peeled off their coats
3
a
: to come off in strips or patches
the paint is peeling
b
: to lose an outer layer (as of skin)
your face is peeling
peeler noun

peel

2 of 2 noun
: an outer covering and especially the skin or rind of a fruit

Medical Definition

peel

1 of 2 transitive verb
1
: to strip off an outer layer of
2
: to remove (as skin or a blemish) by stripping

intransitive verb

1
: to come off in sheets or scales
sunburned skin peels
2
: to lose an outer layer (as of skin)
his face is peeling

peel

2 of 2 noun

Geographical Definition

Peel

geographical name

river 425 miles (684 kilometers) long in northwestern Canada rising in western Yukon (territory) and flowing east and north into the Mackenzie River

Biographical Definition

Peel

biographical name

Sir Robert 1788–1850 English statesman

More from Merriam-Webster on peel

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