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 Also, if the six-foot rule for social distancing is a bit confusing, remember that most commercial buildings have had their floor tile installed by the square foot. cleveland, "Dear Annie: I found out my husband has been watching porn and I’m not happy about it," 13 Apr. 2021 Also, if the six-foot rule for social distancing is a bit confusing, remember that most commercial buildings have had their floor tile installed by the square foot. Annie Lane, oregonlive, "Dear Annie: Husband may have a porn addiction, but wife’s playing ‘gotcha’ isn’t helping," 13 Apr. 2021 Easy-to-clean tile and stone are typically the go-to choices, because neither trap dust mites, pollen, dander and other airborne particles that aggravate allergies. Washington Post, "If indoor allergies are bringing you down, you might want to look at your flooring," 9 Mar. 2021 The walls will be decked out with ceramic tile installations, and maple tables and countertops will be paired with steel black chairs. Marcy De Luna, Chron, "Shoot the Moon restaurant with 80-beverage self-serve tap wall to open in Spring Branch," 9 Nov. 2020 Hues of rose gold touch up one of the guest bedrooms, and one of the bathrooms is wrapped in retro green subway tile. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, "Armie Hammer seeks $5.8 million for stately Hancock Park Tudor," 28 Sep. 2020 Ceramic tile is another smart choice that can be used on floors, walls and even backsplashes in the bathroom. Angela Serratore, Popular Mechanics, "4 Common Questions About Waterproofing Bathroom Floors," 14 Sep. 2020 This technique works best on hard, non-porous surfaces such as ceramic or porcelain tile, metal fixtures, and glass. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "Grapefruit and Sugar Are the Secret Cleaning Ingredients to a Sparkling Bathtub," 19 Aug. 2020 Homes will range in size from 3,500 to 5,500 square feet, and each will include French oak flooring, quartzite and slate counters with gourmet-level appliances in the kitchen, designer tile, high ceilings and expansive windows. Janice O'leary, Robb Report, "Virginia’s 5-Star Salamander Resort Is Building a Suite of Luxury Residences in Horse Country," 21 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

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tile. Accessed 11 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

Comments on tile

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