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 Other features include a media room, home office and a large bathroom with floor-to-ceiling marble tile, a walk-in shower with multiple jets and a soaking tub. Amanda Rabines, orlandosentinel.com, "Here are the top 10 high-price home sales in Orange County for 2020," 31 Dec. 2020 Other highlights include an open-concept dining area and galley-style kitchen lined with yellow tile. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, "Hot Property: Zac Efron eyes an exit in Los Feliz," 26 Dec. 2020 Eyes are immediately drawn to the 60-inch custom ribbon fireplace with wraparound Jasper black tile and natural red oak wood flooring. Dallas News, "Salcedo Homes features custom design in Frisco," 13 Dec. 2020 Unlike tile and hardwood floors, plush carpets absorb stench like no other, especially after countless food spills and pet messes. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "How to Make Your House Smell Good (Okay, Amazing) All the Time," 22 Jan. 2021 The new restaurant has a much more modern style — a remix of bare wood, gleaming tile and sleek light fixtures lining the open rafters. Bravo! Ian Mcnulty, NOLA.com, "New Italian restaurant a Tavola opens in former Bravo! home at Lakeside mall," 29 Dec. 2020 Traction detail on the outsole prevents slips on smooth surfaces like tile or hardwood. Sian Babish, chicagotribune.com, "The best slipper for kids," 22 Dec. 2020 Enviro-Master of Detroit also offers other cleaning and commercial sanitizing services like a hand hygiene program, a tile and grout deep cleaning service and a drain treatment service. Slone Terranella, Detroit Free Press, "Ghostbusters-style cleaning service kills germs in drive-thru setting in Detroit," 3 Dec. 2020 Inside, voluminous spaces offer an eye-catching design palette of warm wood, marble, tile and glass. Los Angeles Times, "Hot Property: Dodgers star Mookie Betts swings on an Encino mansion," 21 Nov. 2020 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

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tile. Accessed 26 Feb. 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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