Peel off


[peel-awf, -of]
designed to be peeled off from a backing or large sheet, usually of paper, before use; readied for use by peeling off: peel-off labels.

1935–40; adj. use of verb phrase peel off Unabridged


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
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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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

peel off
1.  to remove or be removed by peeling
2.  slang (intr) to undress
3.  (intr) (of an aircraft) to turn away as by banking, and leave a formation
4.  slang to go away or cause to go away

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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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
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

peel off

  1. Remove an outer layer of skin, bark, paint, or the like; also, come off in thin strips or pieces. For example, Peeling off birch bark can kill the tree, or Paint was peeling off the walls. [Late 1500s]

  2. Remove or separate, as in Helen peeled off her gloves and got to work, or Al peeled off a ten-dollar bill and gave it to the driver. [First half of 1900s]

  3. Also, peel away. Depart from a group, as in Ruth peeled off from the pack of runners and went down a back road. This expression originated in air force jargon during World War II and was used for an airplane or pilot that left flight formation, a sight that suggested the peeling of skin from a banana.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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