tow·​el | \ ˈtau̇(-ə)l How to pronounce towel (audio) \

Definition of towel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an absorbent cloth or paper for wiping or drying


toweled or towelled; toweling or towelling

Definition of towel (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to rub or dry (something, such as the body) with a towel

intransitive verb

: to use a towel to dry oneself toweled down after swimming

Examples of towel in a Sentence


She dried her hair with a towel. Here's a towel to wipe up the spill.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Put peppers into a bowl; cover with a towel and let cool. Jeanmarie Brownson,, "Homemade harissa sauce sparks ordinary grilled chicken," 19 June 2019 He was spotted walking in the direction of the trainer’s room with a towel pressed against his face. Alaa Abdeldaiem,, "Report: Max Scherzer Broke Nose While Bunting During Batting Practice," 18 June 2019 Pat the scallops and shrimp dry with a clean paper towel. Claire Perez,, "Bonefish Grill’s Imperial dip a creamy mix of shrimp, scallops and crab," 14 June 2019 Step 5 For the frosting: Wipe the same mixing bowl and paddle attachment or beaters with a paper towel, if necessary, then add the butter and cream cheese and beat on medium-high speed until smooth. Jessie Sheehan, Washington Post, "With cream cheese frosting and festive sprinkles, this one-bowl cake is an everyday celebration," 10 June 2019 Wait a couple of minutes, then wipe down the pan with a dry paper towel. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How To Clean a Cast-Iron Pan," 3 June 2019 Water Stains: To remove an already wet stain, blot (do not rub!) with a paper towel or a dry cloth to absorb the water. Irene Hwang, Seventeen, "How to Clean Suede Shoes Like a Fashion Pro," 13 May 2019 Rui Hachimura went through the handshake line with a towel covering part of his face. Jim Meehan, The Seattle Times, "Gonzaga’s season ends just short of Final Four in dramatic loss to Texas Tech in West Region final," 30 Mar. 2019 His tips: If the stain is non-oily (like wine), blot it with a paper towel and sparingly add water to the spot to dilute it, repeating this process until the stain is gone. Kelsey Ogletree, House Beautiful, "How to Clean Your Vintage Rug," 5 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Step 1: Apply Keratin Complex's Vita Volume Boosting Foam to towel-dry hair. Laurie Espino, Seventeen, "Tips to Getting Lucy Hale's Messy Bun," 18 Apr. 2012 Two tips for curly hair: Leave a little bit of conditioner in after rinsing, and never towel-dry. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "Beat the Heat! How 6 Models Maintain Their Signature Spirals," 13 Aug. 2018 Apply on clean skin for no longer than the instructions say (usually six to eight minutes), then towel it off. Cristina Mueller, Redbook, "Q& Triple A: I have little hairs around my chin and upper lip. Help!," 10 Jan. 2011 Swimmers can reduce the risk of getting the itch by toweling off after going in the water and swimming in colder water, away from shore. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "Feel like a swim? Here’s the lowdown on Anchorage lakes," 4 July 2018 For fun that doesn’t involve having to towel off, Great Wolf created a 40,000-square-foot adventure park that includes a climbing wall, ropes course and nine-hole minigolf course. Lori Rackl,, "First look: Great Wolf Lodge Illinois ready to welcome guests, Chance the Rapper," 21 June 2018 For fun that doesn’t involve having to towel off, Great Wolf created a 40,000-square-foot adventure park that includes a climbing wall, ropes course and nine-hole minigolf course. Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, "Chance the Rapper leads camp kids in test run at Great Wolf Lodge, Gurnee's newly renovated water park," 21 June 2018 Then on Monday, they were photographed toweling off after a swim. Jeff Nelson,, "Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin Step Out as Source Says He 'Has No Contact' with Selena Gomez," 13 June 2018 Visitors can get a haircut and peruse displays of antique and vintage barber equipment, from chairs and striped poles to towel steamers and straight razors. New York Times, "'Barbering Is an Art’," 4 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'towel.' 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 towel


13th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1839, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for towel


Middle English towaille, from Anglo-French tuaille, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German dwahila towel; akin to Old High German dwahan to wash

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Dictionary Entries near towel

tow bug

tow car

tow cloth


towel bar


towel gourd

Statistics for towel

Last Updated

23 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for towel

The first known use of towel was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for towel



English Language Learners Definition of towel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a piece of cloth used for drying things



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

: to dry (something) with a towel


tow·​el | \ ˈtau̇-əl How to pronounce towel (audio) \

Kids Definition of towel

: a cloth or piece of absorbent paper for wiping or drying


tow·​el | \ ˈtau̇(-ə)l How to pronounce towel (audio) \

Medical Definition of towel

1 : an absorbent cloth or paper for wiping or drying
2 British : sanitary napkin

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More from Merriam-Webster on towel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with towel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for towel

Spanish Central: Translation of towel

Nglish: Translation of towel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of towel for Arabic Speakers

Comments on towel

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