from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A building or part of a building that is exceptionally high in proportion to its width and length.
  • noun A tall, slender structure used for observation, signaling, or pumping.
  • noun One that conspicuously embodies strength, firmness, or another virtue.
  • noun Computers A computer system whose components are arranged in a vertical stack and housed in a tall, narrow cabinet.
  • intransitive verb To appear at or rise to a conspicuous height; loom.
  • intransitive verb To fly directly upward before swooping or falling. Used of certain birds.
  • intransitive verb To demonstrate great superiority; be preeminent.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An obsolete form of tour.
  • noun In chem.: Same as distïlling-tube.
  • noun A drying-apparatus of cylindrical shape: same as calcium-chlorid tube.
  • noun In a railroad, a building in which are assembled the levers which control a system of switches and signals; a signalman's cabin. Signal-towers are usually two stories high, to give the signalman a view of the tracks and signals under his control. See switch-tower and signaling.
  • noun In geology, a columnar protrusion of eruptive rock, such as the famous spine of Pelée on Martinique. See cumulovolcano.
  • To rise or extend far upward like a tower; rise high or aloft.
  • To soar aloft, as a bird; specifically
  • to soar as a lark in the act of singing
  • to rise straight up in the air, as a wounded bird (see towering, n.)
  • to mount up, as a hawk to be able to swoop down on the quarry.
  • To rise aloft into.
  • noun A building lofty in proportion to its lateral dimensions, of any form in plan, whether insulated or forming part of a church, castle, or other edifice.
  • noun In early and medieval warfare, a tall, movable wooden structure used in storming a fortified place.
  • noun A citadel; a fortress; a place of defense or protection.
  • noun In astrology, a mansion.
  • noun In heraldry, a bearing representing a fortified tower with battlements and usually a gate with a portcullis.
  • noun A high commode or headdress worn by women in the reigns of William III. and Anne.
  • noun A wig or the natural hair built up very high.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To rise and overtop other objects; to be lofty or very high; hence, to soar.
  • transitive verb obsolete To soar into.
  • noun A mass of building standing alone and insulated, usually higher than its diameter, but when of great size not always of that proportion.
  • noun A projection from a line of wall, as a fortification, for purposes of defense, as a flanker, either or the same height as the curtain wall or higher.
  • noun A structure appended to a larger edifice for a special purpose, as for a belfry, and then usually high in proportion to its width and to the height of the rest of the edifice.
  • noun A citadel; a fortress; hence, a defense.
  • noun A headdress of a high or towerlike form, fashionable about the end of the seventeenth century and until 1715; also, any high headdress.
  • noun obsolete High flight; elevation.
  • noun (Chem.) a large tower or chamber used in the sulphuric acid process, to absorb (by means of concentrated acid) the spent nitrous fumes that they may be returned to the Glover's tower to be reemployed. See Sulphuric acid, under Sulphuric, and Glover's tower, below.
  • noun (Chem.) a large tower or chamber used in the manufacture of sulphuric acid, to condense the crude acid and to deliver concentrated acid charged with nitrous fumes. These fumes, as a catalytic, effect the conversion of sulphurous to sulphuric acid. See Sulphuric acid, under Sulphuric, and Gay Lussac's tower, above.
  • noun See under Round, a.
  • noun See under Shot.
  • noun (Fort.) a bastion of masonry, often with chambers beneath, built at an angle of the interior polygon of some works.
  • noun (Bot.) the cruciferous plant Arabis perfoliata.
  • noun a collection of buildings in the eastern part of London, formerly containing a state prison, and now used as an arsenal and repository of various objects of public interest.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun One who tows.
  • noun A structure, usually taller than it is wide, often used as a lookout, usually unsupported by guy-wires.
  • noun figuratively Any item, such as a computer case, that is usually higher than it is wide.
  • noun informal An interlocking tower.
  • noun The sixteenth trump or Major Arcana card in many Tarot decks, deemed an ill omen.
  • verb To be very tall.
  • verb obsolete, transitive To soar into.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb appear very large or occupy a commanding position
  • noun anything that approximates the shape of a column or tower


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English tur, tour, towr, from Old English torr and from Old French tur, both from Latin turris, probably from Greek tursis, turris.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

tow +‎ -er

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English torr. Probably influence by Welsh "twr".


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word tower.


  • For example, consider the widely accepted sixteenth-century ˜tower argument™ against the Copernican claim that the earth moves: the earth can't be moving, because a stone released from a tower will fall ˜straight down™ to the foot of the tower, and not land some distance to the west as apparently required by Copernicus.

    Naturalism Papineau, David 2007

  • Before Gerald left the old tower (_my tower_) which was alone spared by the flames, and at which he had resided, though without his household, rather than quit

    Devereux — Complete Edward Bulwer Lytton Lytton 1838

  • An ancient Roman tower, of which a few walls only now remain, on the route to Agen, was once a conspicuous object from the river: it was called _La Tourrasse_, ( "_enormous tower_" in _patois_), and many discoveries prove the importance of this place in the time of the

    Béarn and the Pyrenees A Legendary Tour to the Country of Henri Quatre Louisa Stuart Costello 1834

  • The central processing unit, or main tower, is 10.4 inches long, 3.9 inches wide, and 12.4 inches tall.

    New tiny PC for the living room 2008

  • Developed and contracted by Brookfield Europe, the tower is a tricky engineering feat indeed, especially granted the gusty blasts of wind that construction crews had to deal with while raising it.

    The Strata: World's First Skyscraper With Built-In Wind Turbines | Inhabitat 2010

  • Firstly, the Shangri La tower is the tallest tower in Vancouver, at 64 floors.

    SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Collectibles - Part 10 2009

  • Under the tower is a hall built between the years 1442 and 1446, during the Ming dynasty.

    Ancient Observatory, Beijing Bente Lilja Bye 2008

  • Despite the seemingly remote location, I get 4 bars on my cell phone when I'm standing at the top of the knoll, since a cell tower is located within line-of-sight, 10 miles away.

    Boing Boing 2009

  • You're right, the Eiffel tower is not worth the time it takes, but if the weather is nice, you should go up the second highest building in Paris, the Tour Montparnasse.

    Do-Don'ts: Visiting Paris Without Enough Time 2009

  • Jack, do you have a link for the rumor that a tower is leaning?

    SoWhat tower condos: Price reduced (Jack Bog's Blog) 2009


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.