1 [peel]
verb (used with object)
to strip (something) of its skin, rind, bark, etc.: to peel an orange.
to strip (the skin, rind, bark, paint, etc.) from something: to peel paint from a car.
Croquet. to cause (another player's ball) to go through a wicket.
verb (used without object)
(of skin, bark, paint, etc.) to come off; become separated.
to lose the skin, rind, bark, paint, etc.
Informal. to undress.
Metallurgy. (of a malleable iron casting) to lose, or tend to lose, the outer layer.
the skin or rind of a fruit, vegetable, etc.
Metallurgy. the presence of a brittle outer layer on a malleable iron casting.
Verb phrases
peel off,
to remove (the skin, bark, etc.) or be removed: The old skin peeled off.
Aeronautics. to leave a flying formation of aircraft with a banking turn, usually from one end of an echelon.
Informal. to turn off or leave (a road): We peeled off the highway onto a dirt road.
to remove (clothing) in a swift upward or downward motion.
keep one's eyes peeled, Informal. to watch closely or carefully; be alert: Keep your eyes peeled for a gas station.

before 1100; Middle English pelen, Old English pilian to strip, skin < Latin pilāre to remove hair, derivative of pilus hair. See pill2

peelable, adjective
unpeelable, adjective
unpeeled, adjective

1. Peel, pare agree in meaning to remove the skin or rind from something. Peel means to pull or strip off the natural external covering or protection of something: to peel an orange, a potato. Pare is used of trimming off chips, flakes, or superficial parts from something, as well as of cutting off the skin or rind: to pare the nails; to pare a potato. Unabridged


2 [peel]
a shovellike implement for putting bread, pies, etc., into the oven or taking them out.
Metallurgy. a long, shovellike iron tool for charging an open-hearth furnace.

1350–1400; Middle English pele < Middle French < Latin pāla spade. See palette


3 [peel]
a small fortified tower for residence or for use during an attack, common in the border counties of England and Scotland in the 16th century.
Also, pele.

1250–1300; Middle English pele fortress < Anglo-French pel stockade, Middle French pel stake < Latin pālus stake. See pale2


Sir Robert, 1788–1850, British political leader: founder of the London constabulary; prime minister 1834–35; 1841–46.
a seaport on W Isle of Man: castle; resort.
a river in N Yukon Territory and NW Northwest Territories, Canada, flowing E and N to the Mackenzie River. 425 miles (684 km) long. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To peel
World English Dictionary
peel1 (piːl)
1.  (tr) to remove (the skin, rind, outer covering, etc) of (a fruit, egg, etc)
2.  (intr) (of paint, etc) to be removed from a surface, esp through weathering
3.  (intr) (of a surface) to lose its outer covering of paint, etc esp through weathering
4.  (intr) (of a person or part of the body) to shed skin in flakes or (of skin) to be shed in flakes, esp as a result of sunburn
5.  croquet to put (another player's ball) through a hoop or hoops
6.  keep one's eyes peeled, keep one's eyes skinned to watch vigilantly
7.  the skin or rind of a fruit, etc
[Old English pilian to strip off the outer layer, from Latin pilāre to make bald, from pilus a hair]

peel2 (piːl)
a long-handled shovel used by bakers for moving bread, in an oven
[C14 pele, from Old French, from Latin pāla spade, from pangere to drive in; see palette]

peel3 (piːl)
(in Britain) a fortified tower of the 16th century on the borders between England and Scotland, built to withstand raids
[C14 (fence made of stakes): from Old French piel stake, from Latin pālus; see pale², paling]

Peel (piːl)
1.  John, real name John Robert Parker Ravenscroft. 1939--2004, British broadcaster; presented his influential Radio 1 music programme (1967--2004) and Radio 4's Home Truths (1998--2004)
2.  Sir Robert. 1788--1850, British statesman; Conservative prime minister (1834--35; 1841--46). As Home Secretary (1828--30) he founded the Metropolitan Police and in his second ministry carried through a series of free-trade budgets culminating in the repeal of the Corn Laws (1846), which split the Tory party

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source's 21st Century Lexicon
Main Entry:   peel
Part of Speech:   n
Definition:   See baker's peel's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

"to strip off," developed from O.E. pilian "to peel," and O.Fr. pillier, both from L. pilare "to strip of hair," from pilus "hair." Probably also infl. by L. pellis "skin, hide." The noun is 1583, from earlier pill, pile (1388), from the verb.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Computing Dictionary

PEEL definition

Used to implement version of Emacs on PRIME computers.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idiom beginning with peel, also see keep one's eyes open (peeled).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Peel off the rough brown skin and eat the white flesh raw or cooked add to my
  plant list.
Peel an outer leaf off from the junction where it connects to the stem.
Use your fingers to lift skin away from tube, then peel off and discard.
The nuts then have to be cooked to loosen the peel and to make it easier to
  peel off the thin skin.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature