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

The fans filled the stands with gold towels and gold shirts to support pediatric caner in Gold, Fight, Win. Marcus Gutierrez, Houston Chronicle, "Atascocita routs Kingwood in district opener," 16 Sep. 2019 Other kitchen products include tree-free paper towels and fruit and veggie cleaner., "Rebel Green Deluxe Dish Soap stands out - The Boston Globe," 10 Sep. 2019 Hats, bags, school supplies bracelets, water bottles, towels and other UT swag soon arrived to Snyder's classroom. Sophie Lewis, CBS News, "University of Tennessee turns bullied 4th grader's T-shirt design into official school apparel," 9 Sep. 2019 This includes food, beverages, clean linens, towels and a proper place to sleep. Christen A. Johnson,, "Think again about keeping your bed to yourself when overnight guests stay — especially if they’re older," 7 Sep. 2019 The Royal Caribbean and Norwegian are also headed to the Bahamas with supplies, including generators, water, cleaning supplies, clean sheets, and towels. Lauren M. Johnson, CNN, "A cruise line is offering free evacuations to those on Grand Bahama Island," 5 Sep. 2019 Don’t forget to bring lots of towels and doggie treats for the wet car ride home. Laura Daily And Bryan K. Chavez, The Know, "An Italian fest in Lakewood, dogs take over Water World and more cheap things to do in Denver this month," 4 Sep. 2019 Amazon's sprawling marketplace has become the default location for consumers to re-up on goods as basic as paper towels and socks. Author: Jay Greene, Anchorage Daily News, "Aggressive Amazon tactic pushes you to consider its own brand before you click ‘buy’ amazon," 29 Aug. 2019 Goat yoga in the park: Bring your sense of humor, a yoga mat and large towel 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 7. Joan Rusek,, "Neighborhood talent show mixes fashion, talent and rain for back to school send-off: Valley Views," 23 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

After toweling off the jelly, Braiden sat in the hallway with Brendt, waiting to meet with the doctor. Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post, "Braiden Schirtzinger is non-binary, pregnant and about to take on the most gendered role of all," 16 Aug. 2019 After recording his final out, Buehler toweled sweat from his brow while Roberts shook his hand for a job well done. Los Angeles Times, "Kenley Jansen blows save and Dodgers fall to Diamondbacks, then tempers boil over," 10 Aug. 2019 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

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

13 Oct 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

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