noun, often attributive
\ ˈtī(-ə)l How to pronounce tile (audio) \

Definition of tile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 plural tiles or tile
a : a flat or curved piece of fired clay, stone, or concrete used especially for roofs, floors, or walls and often for ornamental work
b : a hollow or a semicircular and open earthenware or concrete piece used in constructing a drain
c : a hollow building unit made of fired clay or of shale or gypsum
2 : tiling
3 : a thin piece of resilient material (such as cork, linoleum, or rubber) used especially for covering floors or walls
4 : a thin piece resembling a ceramic tile that usually bears a mark or letter and is used as a playing piece in a board game (such as mah-jongg)
5 : hat especially : a high silk hat
on the tiles
: engaged in late-night carousing


tiled; tiling

Definition of tile (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cover with tiles
2 : to install drainage tile in

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Other Words from tile


tiler noun

Examples of tile in a Sentence

Noun We installed new tile in the kitchen. Verb We hired him to tile the bathroom floor.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Nearly every color, piece and fixture has a backstory, but few design details have more significant meaning than the handmade tile work. Neal Leitereg, Forbes, "Invader Was Here: The Story Behind One Of Venice’s Most Recognizable Homes," 9 May 2021 One will feature a green tile pattern, the other will be filled with mauve. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, "5 things you’ll see in the remodel of Salt Lake Acting Company’s quirky former LDS meetinghouse," 7 May 2021 Picture-frame molding adds a luxe level of detail to the rooms, and the original Rookwood tile fireplace draws the eye to the front of the home. Mary Grace Granados, Dallas News, "Take a look at this renovated home in Dallas’ Lakewood neighborhood built in the 1920s," 6 May 2021 The three separate guestroom areas are all well-appointed, each with a king-size bed, its own thermostat and bathrooms with Carrara marble countertops and porcelain tile flooring. Richard A. Marini, San Antonio Express-News, "Cordillera Ranch retirement home an entertainer's dream with 2 kitchens, 6 guestrooms with en suites, outdoor play area and infinity pool," 22 Apr. 2021 Masons sculpted elliptical walls and tile-setters finished a low bench around the perimeter. Smithsonian Magazine, "In the Arizona desert, James Turrell is creating one of the most ambitious artworks in American history. Here’s an exclusive look," 20 Apr. 2021 Arched doorways navigate the main level, leading to a tile kitchen, formal dining room, indoor-outdoor family room and the home’s largest space — a two-story billiards room under a trio of chandeliers. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, "French Montana wants $5 million for house he bought from Selena Gomez," 13 Apr. 2021 Scanning the far end of the 60-foot bay, television cameras aboard the spacecraft revealed 13 to 15 tile cavities atop the maneuvering engine pods that power the shuttle in space. Roger Simmons, orlandosentinel.com, "Up, up and away: Space Shuttle Columbia first launched 40 years ago today," 12 Apr. 2021 Cut the tile sheets according to your table's measurements. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "Tiled Tables Are Taking Over Social Media—Here's How to DIY One for Less Than $100," 6 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The fact is, most three-dimensional shapes don’t tile space. Quanta Magazine, "Undergraduates Hunt for Special Tetrahedra That Fit Together," 9 Feb. 2021 Those cut-up rectangles, for example, can easily tile together to fill in a mosaic in two dimensions. Quanta Magazine, "Scientists Uncover the Universal Geometry of Geology," 19 Nov. 2020 Umansky also believes that area rugs can be an asset atop any flooring, from classic hardwood to tile and beyond. Sarah Baird, House Beautiful, "Area Rugs," 14 Sep. 2020 Keeping all the nooks and crannies in your house clean is no picnic—whether that's figuring out how to tile clean grout or getting down to business and cleaning those blinds. Carmen Collins, Country Living, "How to Get Wax Out of Your Carpet in 4 Simple Steps," 28 Apr. 2020 To make the application more affordable, tile only a small section, such as a shower wall or the area around a vanity, instead of the wall's full expanse. Laura Lambert, Better Homes & Gardens, "Bold, Colorful Tile Is Everywhere Right Now: Here's How to Get the Look," 11 June 2020 Clean floors from hardwood to tile with the machine washable microfiber mop head, and then extend the adjustable handle up to 63 inches (5.25 feet) to use on windows. Popular Science, "Modern mops that will inspire you to tackle your mess," 9 June 2020 Floors are tiled in terra cotta, and lofty ceilings retain the original wood beams. New York Times, "House Hunting in Malaysia: A Restored Rowhouse in Penang," 15 Apr. 2020 Perhaps no room nods to the building’s past more than the grand foyer, which is tiled in Art Deco-style marble and looks onto the large central courtyard, filled with sculptural cypress trees, around which the house is built. Max Berlinger, New York Times, "Kelly Wearstler’s Home Is Filled With Hollywood Secrets," 31 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tile.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tile


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tile


Middle English, from Old English tigele, from Latin tegula tile; akin to Latin tegere to cover — more at thatch

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Time Traveler for tile

Time Traveler

The first known use of tile was before the 12th century

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Statistics for tile

Last Updated

17 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tile. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for tile



English Language Learners Definition of tile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a usually flat piece of hard clay, stone, or other material that is used for covering walls, floors, etc.
: a curved piece of hard clay that is used for covering roofs
: a small, flat piece that is used in some board games



English Language Learners Definition of tile (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cover (something) with tiles


\ ˈtīl How to pronounce tile (audio) \

Kids Definition of tile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a thin piece of material (as plastic, stone, or clay) used for roofs, walls, floors, or drains
2 : a small flat piece used in a game


tiled; tiling

Kids Definition of tile (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cover with tiles

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