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 As the scene spiraled into something that resembled chaos, Ramos grabbed a towel to throw over Clarkson’s head — an ineffective disguise — and ushered him out of the building through a back door. New York Times, "In the Philippines, Everyone Knows Jordan Clarkson’s Name," 5 Apr. 2021 Howard: This man who earned $149 million in the NBA took a towel, got down on his hands and knees and cleaned the court during a game in 2019 game against Iowa State. Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan basketball's trip to the Sweet 16 began with a 'spark' in Juwan Howard's eyes," 26 Mar. 2021 Other clever equipment fixes include using a dish towel beneath her feet to do hamstring curls on a wood floor. Jen Murphy, WSJ, "Olympic Skier Mikaela Shiffrin’s Comeback Started With Workouts in Her Garage," 20 Mar. 2021 Trent Frazier flapped a white towel at midcourt after Rutgers called a timeout. Shannon Ryan,, "Ayo Dosunmu scores 23 points, leading Illinois to a 90-68 rout of Rutgers in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament," 13 Mar. 2021 The prime highlight within that moment was Riley Battin throwing his arms up, waiving a towel, sprinting from halfway up the sideline to the baseline in celebration. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah hammers Arizona State, 98-59, to close regular season on high note," 6 Mar. 2021 Drape a kitchen towel over the pan, replace the lid, and let stand. Christopher Kimball,, "Three recipes that take the guesswork out of braising chicken," 2 Feb. 2021 Using this towel will greatly reduce washcloth irritation that leads to skin problems like rosacea and acne. Stack Commerce, Popular Science, "Start the new year by taking better care of your body from head to toe with these self-care steals," 25 Jan. 2021 Using the towel in the shower is as easy as using any washcloth. Kai Burkhardt, CNN Underscored, "Goshi’s exfoliating shower towel will make you throw away all your loofahs," 14 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Use a mat or towel to cushion your left knee, if needed. Dana Santas, CNN, "Strength training with free weights: How to reboot your workout routine," 3 Aug. 2020 These budget-friendly picks are a total pleasure to towel off with. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "The Best Way to Fold Towels," 9 June 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

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Towel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 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

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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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