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

Noun She dried her hair with a towel. Here's a towel to wipe up the spill.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Saunders had a towel on his head while his corner tried to comfort him. Los Angeles Times, "Fiery Canelo Álvarez savors win over Billy Joe Saunders, ready to chase next belt," 9 May 2021 Disney’s cruise line wants to bring its magic, beloved characters and cute towel creations to Fort Lauderdale year round starting in 2022. Brooke Baitinger,, "Get your mouse ears ready: Disney cruises may sail from Fort Lauderdale," 7 May 2021 Changing guest towel behavior is different from changing an organization’s culture, but in both cases, humans behave in service to the need to belong. David Rock, Forbes, "To Supercharge DE&I, Mobilize The Middle," 6 May 2021 The towel helps to absorb all that extra moisture that the dishwasher's drying cycle doesn't necessarily absorb. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Binge-watching TV can lead to addiction and health problems," 6 May 2021 This is unique and has a durable marble base that can keep the towel holder sturdy and upright. Chris Hachey, BGR, "Best Toilet Paper Holder Stand," 4 May 2021 Wood coat hooks are a space-saving alternative to a towel bar. Jody Garlock, Better Homes & Gardens, "An 1,100-Square-Foot Cape Cod Home That Proves You Don't Have to Sacrifice Style in a Small Space," 3 May 2021 Happ held a towel over his mouth and was carted off the field. Charlie Goldsmith, The Enquirer, "Cubs outfielder Ian Happ carted off the field as the former Bearcat faces the Reds," 2 May 2021 That’s the age that makes sense from other proximate evidence surrounding my memory of getting out of the tub and turning to my mother, who held a towel. Jason Brown, The New Yorker, "The Wrong Jason Brown," 2 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Then, wrap your hair in a shower cap, t-shirt, or towel for thirty minutes. Madge Maril, Harper's BAZAAR, "How To DIY The Best Coconut Oil Hair Mask," 7 May 2021 Build a security checkpoint using a doorway as the metal detector and a cardboard box and towel as the conveyor belt and X-ray. Laura Dannen Redman, Condé Nast Traveler, "Everything You Need to Know Before Flying With a Baby or Young Kids," 13 Apr. 2021 Use a brush or towel to regularly tend to dirt and create a mix of warm water and soap for more stubborn pieces. Anthony Marcusa,, "The best Skechers work shoe," 4 Apr. 2021 New students get an introductory offer of 10 consecutive days for $10, which includes yoga mat and towel rentals. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "An Oconomowoc woman is bringing hot yoga 'close to home' by opening her own studio this winter," 10 Nov. 2020 Aquis Original Hair Turban for $16.79 (Save $4.20): Keep your hair healthier by wrapping it in this gentle microfiber towel post-shower. Jessica Kasparian, USA TODAY, "These are the best hairstyling and grooming deals for Prime Day," 14 Oct. 2020 Special considerations for pet birds include: a secure travel cage or carrier to transport; a blanket or towel to put over your pet’s cage in cold weather; a spray bottle to periodically moisten your bird’s feathers in warm weather. Karen Pearlman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Get your companion animals prepared for a disaster," 12 Sep. 2020 Participants are required to bring their own mat and towel and keep a social distance of eight feet from one another. Brandi Addison, Dallas News, "In a trying year, free yoga sessions for essential workers in Allen help ‘Support Our Scrubs’," 2 Sep. 2020 Stop whenever necessary to grab a drink, towel off and catch your breath. Dana Santas, CNN, "Get moving faster with cardio: How to reboot your workout routine," 10 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for towel

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for towel

Last Updated

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Towel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on towel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for towel

Nglish: Translation of towel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of towel for Arabic Speakers

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