tow·​er | \ˈtau̇(-ə)r \

Definition of tower 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a building or structure typically higher than its diameter and high relative to its surroundings that may stand apart (such as a campanile) or be attached (such as a church belfry) to a larger structure and that may be fully walled in or of skeleton framework (such as an observation or transmission tower)

2 : a towering citadel : fortress

3 : one that provides support or protection : bulwark a tower of strength

4 : a personal computer case that stands in an upright position


towered; towering; towers

Definition of tower (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to reach or rise to a great height

2 : to exhibit superior qualities : surpass her intellect towered over the others'

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from tower


towered \ˈtau̇(-​ə)rd \ adjective
towerlike \ˈtau̇(-​ə)r-​ˌlīk \ adjective

Synonyms for tower

Synonyms: Noun

cathedral, edifice, hall, palace

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of tower in a Sentence


a hill from which one can gaze upon the towers of that great and historic city

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Amazon and Google tower over the landscape, but there are plenty of other areas to explore too. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Ralph Breaks the Internet is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but for the internet," 21 Nov. 2018 The 32-story rental tower at 461 Dean St., in the Pacific Park complex in Brooklyn, completed in 2016 and now fully leased, was supposed to be a paragon of high-rise modular design. Stefanos Chen, The Seattle Times, "Real estate technology that could have a lasting effect on housing," 20 Nov. 2018 People were trapped nearly 1,000 feet up in both towers, their staircases blocked. New York Times, "The Last 9/11 Fire Chief Bows Out," 10 July 2018 In a two-tower structure where the city’s iconic skyline can be taken in via infinity pool, one-year-old Andaz Singapore touches Little India, Kampong Glam, and Bras Basah Bugis. Vogue, "Style Meets Substance—The 7 Must-Visit Shopping Neighborhoods Around the Globe," 24 Oct. 2018 The earthquake knocked out power and telecommunication towers, meaning sirens didn’t wail and alerts didn’t light up mobile phones. Andi Jatmiko, The Seattle Times, "Indonesia expert warned of quake, gov’t mapped risk areas," 9 Oct. 2018 Mercer Hotel Barcelona, Spain Rooms at the Mercer are bright, spacious, and impeccably laid out; some have even been built into an original Roman defense tower, translating to walls of gorgeous, centuries-old brickwork. Betsy Blumenthal, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Hotels in the World: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 For example, Atlanta’s airport pumps out 100 flights every hour as 103.9 million passengers move through the airport every year, all under the watchful eye of North America’s tallest air traffic control tower, standing nearly 400 feet high. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "This Visualization Shows Just How Busy the World's Biggest Airports Are," 20 Sep. 2018 In person, the Predator X looks like, well, a gaming tower, with the usual assortment of grills, vents, LEDs, and a massive Predator logo on the side. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Acer teases its dual Intel Xeon-powered Predator X desktop for this winter," 29 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Emergency authorities said 12 of the deaths were in Bay County, where the storm slammed ashore with 155 mph (250 kph) winds and towering storm surge last Wednesday. Jay Reeves, The Seattle Times, "Scope of Michael’s fury becomes clearer in Florida Panhandle," 16 Oct. 2018 It is said that towering centre-back Yerry Mina is of interest to Fenerbahce and Borussia Dortmund., "Report Names 11 Players Who Are Tipped to Leave Barcelona This Summer to Make Way for New Arrivals," 25 June 2018 In 2016, Donald Trump won the state by a towering 42-point margin. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Joe Manchin reelected in West Virginia: the most conservative Senate Democrat survives," 7 Nov. 2018 Pyrocumulus clouds are rare mushroom-like cloud formations that can tower above lava and gases spattering from a volcano. Amir Vera, CNN, "Hawaii's Kilauea volcano eruption has now destroyed more than 80 homes," 2 June 2018 The dunes can tower as much as 700 feet above the valley floor., "Detours worth taking on your next road trip," 20 May 2018 The final piece, which will be created in parts and then assembled at the Cannabition museum in the downtown Las Vegas Arts District, will tower 24-feet high and weigh 800 pounds when completed. Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times, "Renowned glassblowing artists will try to make 24-foot-high bong in Seattle," 12 Apr. 2018 Duane Linklater, an Omaskêko Ininiwak artist from Canada, has installed towering tripodal works that recall the structure of the tepee and contrast starkly with the ever-rising condominium towers surrounding the High Line. Daniel Mcdermon, New York Times, "8 Outdoor Art Installations in New York to Get Excited About," 25 May 2018 The announcement, posted on the museum’s website, comes as calls are becoming louder and louder for Suu Kyi, once a towering human rights hero, to speak out. Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post, "Holocaust Museum rescinds Elie Wiesel Award to Nobel winner Aung San Suu Kyi," 7 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tower.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of tower


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tower


Middle English tour, tor, from Old English torr & Anglo-French tur, tour, both from Latin turris, from Greek tyrris, tyrsis

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tower

Statistics for tower

Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tower

The first known use of tower was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tower



English Language Learners Definition of tower

: a tall, narrow building or structure that may stand apart from or be attached to another building or structure

: a tall piece of furniture used to store something

computers : a personal computer that stands in an upright position


tow·​er | \ˈtau̇-ər \

Kids Definition of tower

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a building or structure that is higher than its length or width, is higher than most of what surrounds it, and may stand by itself or be attached to a larger structure


towered; towering

Kids Definition of tower (Entry 2 of 2)

: to reach or rise to a great height

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on tower

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tower

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tower

Spanish Central: Translation of tower

Nglish: Translation of tower for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tower for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about tower

Comments on tower

What made you want to look up tower? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!