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

In first place was $10.1 million awarded to the luxury Arts Residences hotel and condo tower. Richard Webner, San Antonio Express-News, "Developer cancels $83 million apartment tower next to city hall," 5 July 2018 In other words, Kennedy's job was to figure out how to manage Deutsche Bank's risk in loaning Trump the money to build his Chicago tower, and to securitize or sell off parts of the loan as needed. Salvador Rizzo,, "There is an unfounded conspiracy theory about the Supreme Court and Trump Tower Chicago," 14 July 2018 In other words, Kennedy’s job was to figure out how to manage Deutsche Bank’s risk in loaning Trump the money to build his Chicago tower, and to securitize or sell off parts of the loan as needed. Salvador Rizzo, Washington Post, "The thinly-sourced theories about Trump’s loans and Justice Kennedy’s son," 12 July 2018 Last year, the authority struck a 25-year, $110 million sponsorship agreement with Salesforce, the tech firm that is headquartered in its new tower next door. John King,, "S.F.’s long-awaited Salesforce Transit Center sets opening date for Aug. 12," 10 July 2018 The Sacramento Kings have sued their downtown hotel tower general contractor this week, claiming mismanagement has caused the project to soar as much as $50 million over initial budget estimates. Tony Bizjak, sacbee, "Kings sue contractor over soaring costs at unfinished downtown tower project," 4 July 2018 The Hotel del Coronado serves as our backdrop with its giant red and white Victorian towers peeking through tall palm trees and other exotic plants. Shaila Kapoor,, "The moment on the beach is fleeting. Or is it forever?," 25 June 2018 There’s Salesforce and its new tower, of course, but also LinkedIn, Google, Twilio, Zipcar, Github, Okta, and Dropbox. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "Big Tech Isn’t the Problem With Homelessness. It’s All of Us," 21 June 2018 Some conquistadors wrote about the tzompantli and its towers, estimating that the rack alone contained 130,000 skulls. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "Feeding the gods: Hundreds of skulls reveal massive scale of human sacrifice in Aztec capital," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 As towering waves smashed onto Costa Rica's Cocles beach, sucking away much of its sand, surf instructor Leo Downer was scared the coastal road, along with his Toyota car, would be washed into the Caribbean by the ferocious February storm. Sophie Hares, The Christian Science Monitor, "Costa Rica's coast struggles to survive against rising seas," 25 May 2018 In April, 1931, a stout ship that had endured howling gales, towering waves and the press of polar ice tied up at a Potomac River dock alongside the boats that took sightseers to Mount Vernon and the Marshall Hall amusement park. John Kelly, Washington Post, "In 1931, Washington tourists could visit Admiral Byrd’s Antarctic flagship," 12 May 2018 In late February, when a storm slammed into Little Diomede Island, some waterfront homes and buildings crumbled as towering waves battered the shore. Author: Jason Samenow, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Fallen off a cliff’: Scientists have never observed so little ice in the Bering Sea in spring," 4 May 2018 The towering 14-story barn-red mill building is one of the tallest wooden structures in North America, and guiding companies provide tours of it. Nathaniel Wilder, Smithsonian, "A Daring Journey Into the Big Unknown of America’s Largest National Park," 18 Apr. 2018 Mariah also talked to Michigan's Moritz Wagner, who taught her some German while comically towering over her. Alysha Tsuji, USA TODAY, "Nevada coach’s 8-year-old daughter interviewed Loyola players," 29 Mar. 2018 Over the last week, storms have battered the northern Oregon coast, bringing particularly strong surges and towering waves. Jamie Hale,, "Spouting horns are a dramatic, fascinating feature of the Oregon coast," 24 Jan. 2018 Residents in the picturesque area — towering pines mix with stands of banana trees, and ethereal banks of fog roll through the hills — eke out livelihoods off small coffee plantations and ranching. Patrick J. Mcdonnell,, "'What if I lose her forever?' In Guatemala, a couple fears for their child still in detention in U.S.," 10 July 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

Phrases Related to tower

tower above/over

tower of strength

Statistics for tower

Last Updated

19 Oct 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

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).


a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

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!