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 This update also introduces an option to control automatic prominence of video tiles on Group ‌FaceTime‌ calls and includes bug fixes and other improvements. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "COVID-19 contact tracing hits Apple devices with iOS and iPadOS 13.5," 20 May 2020 Here and in other baths, the theme continues of limestone tiles with black marble insets. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "All brick and stone — no wood — make this $1.5M Bloomfield Twp. home memorable," 9 May 2020 And on the backs of the tiles were names of past Challenge seasons, which Dee and Ashley then had to put in chronological order. Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com, "The Challenge: Total Madness," 23 Apr. 2020 The Minton factory produced a few ceramics like this one using the encaustic coloring technique widely practiced during the medieval period and more commonly used in the production of tiles. Catherine Bindman, The New York Review of Books, "Teapots, Silver, and Tapestry: The Met’s New British Galleries," 17 Apr. 2020 Walkways, steps, countertops and floors were covered in broken pieces of tile set to look like the patchwork on a quilt. Neal J. Leitereg, Los Angeles Times, "Hot Property newsletter: Still a good place to park it," 11 Apr. 2020 Each game takes between 15 and 30 minutes to play out and, since there’s dozens of different quilt tiles, every session is different. Harry Guinness, Popular Science, "Two-player board games that won’t make you hate the other person," 10 Apr. 2020 The venue was dark save for a few strands of lights, and many of the acoustic ceiling tiles were warped with damp. Brendan Fitzgerald, Longreads, "“I miss my body when it was ferocious” The Transfiguration of Paul Curreri," 14 Mar. 2020 Concrete Collaborative makes a huge range of tiles and terrazzo—here’s your primer on three of their coolest styles to start shopping for your home. Nena Farrell, Sunset Magazine, "Concrete Collaborative’s Tiles Are Taking the West—and the World—by Storm," 4 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 The floor is tiled and features radiant heating, while the view through the windows is of the large rear deck, made of beautiful and long-lasting ipe, a Brazilian hardwood noted for its ability to handle weather extremes. courant.com, "Property of the Week: 5 Stonebridge Lane, West Hartford," 2 Aug. 2019 The sky was blue and gin-clear at the Dallas Farmers Market, and Rich Rogers of Scardello Artisan Cheese tiled a baguette with salami rounds. Nick Rallo, Dallas News, "It’s time to raclette: Scardello cheesemonger takes melty cheese sandwiches on the go," 13 Feb. 2020 Deceptively simple, the chapel is tiled in plain white, with a few black-on-white line drawings (one depicts St. Dominic). Rick Steves, USA TODAY, "French Riviera: Picasso, Renoir, Matisse and more stunning museums bring cultural richness," 24 Dec. 2019 The new slices everyone loved were tiled with a grotesque number of little cupped pepperonis. Mark Binelli, The New Yorker, "Arrivederci, Little Italy," 8 Dec. 2019 In other words, use 1/16-inch spacers when tiling instead of 1/8-inch—that way your grout line will be thinner in the finished space. Kelly Dawson, House Beautiful, "How to Choose the Perfect Grout Color for Your Tile," 30 Sep. 2019 Puru Jena, a collaborator at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, says models of molecular dynamics predict that the carbon atoms form corrugated layers tiled with six- or 12-atom rings and linked together by covalent bonds. W. Wayt Gibbs, Science | AAAS, "The next graphene? Shiny and magnetic, a new form of pure carbon dazzles with potential," 12 Nov. 2019

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

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tile. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for tile


How to pronounce tile (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on tile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tile

Spanish Central: Translation of tile

Nglish: Translation of tile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tile for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tile

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