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towel

[tou-uh l, toul] /ˈtaʊ əl, taʊl/
noun
1.
an absorbent cloth or paper for wiping and drying something wet, as one for the hands, face, or body after washing or bathing.
verb (used with object), toweled, toweling or (especially British) towelled, towelling.
2.
to wipe or dry with a towel.
Idioms
3.
throw in the towel, Informal. to concede defeat; give up; yield:
He vowed he would never throw in the towel.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English (noun) < Old French toaille cloth for washing or wiping < West Germanic *thwahliō (> Old High German dwahilla, akin to dwahal bath); cognate with Gothic thwahl, thwēal washing
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for towels
  • Patients are often advised to avoid touching their eyes or sharing towels and washcloths.
British Dictionary definitions for towels

towel

/ˈtaʊəl/
noun
1.
a square or rectangular piece of absorbent cloth or paper used for drying the body
2.
a similar piece of cloth used for drying plates, cutlery, etc
3.
throw in the towel, See throw in (sense 4)
verb (transitive) -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
4.
to dry or wipe with a towel
5.
(Austral, slang) often foll by up. to assault or beat (a person)
Word Origin
C13: from Old French toaille, of Germanic origin; related to Old High German dwahal bath, Old Saxon twahila towel, Gothic thwahan to wash
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for towels

towel

n.

late 13c., from Old French toaille (12c.), from Frankish *thwahlja, from Proto-Germanic *thwakhlijon (cf. Old Saxon thwahila, Middle Dutch dwale "towel," Dutch dwaal "altar cloth," Old High German dwehila "towel," German dialectal Zwehle "napkin"); related to German zwagen, Old English þwean "to wash." Spanish toalla, Italian tovaglia are Germanic loan-words.

v.

1836, from towel (n.). Related: Towelled; towelling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for towels

towel

Related Terms

throw in the towel


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with towels
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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9
10
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