1. very high or tall; lofty: a towering oak.
  2. surpassing others; very great: a towering figure in American poetry.
  3. rising to an extreme degree of violence or intensity: a towering rage.
  4. beyond the proper or usual limits; inordinate; excessive: towering pride; towering ambitions.


  1. a building or structure high in proportion to its lateral dimensions, either isolated or forming part of a building.
  2. such a structure used as or intended for a stronghold, fortress, prison, etc.
  3. any of various fully enclosed fireproof housings for vertical communications, as staircases, between the stories of a building.
  4. any structure, contrivance, or object that resembles or suggests a tower.
  5. a tall, movable structure used in ancient and medieval warfare in storming a fortified place.
  6. a tall, vertical case with accessible horizontal drive bays, designed to house a computer system standing on a desk or floor.Compare minitower.
  7. Aviation. control tower.

verb (used without object)

  1. to rise or extend far upward, as a tower; reach or stand high: The skyscraper towers above the city.
  2. to rise above or surpass others: She towers above the other students.
  3. Falconry. (of a hawk) to rise straight into the air; to ring up.

  1. tower of strength, a person who can be relied on for support, aid, or comfort, especially in times of difficulty.


  1. very tall; lofty
  2. outstanding, as in importance or stature
  3. (prenominal) very intensea towering rage


  1. a tall, usually square or circular structure, sometimes part of a larger building and usually built for a specific purposea church tower; a control tower
  2. a place of defence or retreat
  3. a mobile structure used in medieval warfare to attack a castle, etc
  4. tower of strength a person who gives support, comfort, etc


  1. (intr) to be or rise like a tower; loom

Old English torr, from Latin turris “high structure” (cf. Old French tor, 11c.; Spanish, Italian torre “tower”), possibly from a pre-Indo-European Mediterranean language. Also borrowed separately 13c. as tour, from Old French tur. The modern spelling first recorded in 1520s. Meaning “lofty pile or mass” is recorded from mid-14c.


c.1400; see tower (n.). Related: Towered; towering.

In addition to the idiom beginning with tower

  • tower of strength

also see:

  • ivory tower

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