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

  • n. A building or part of a building that is exceptionally high in proportion to its width and length.
  • n. A tall, slender structure used for observation, signaling, or pumping.
  • n. One that conspicuously embodies strength, firmness, or another virtue.
  • n. Computer Science A computer system whose components are arranged in a vertical stack and housed in a tall, narrow cabinet.
  • intransitive v. To appear at or rise to a conspicuous height; loom: "There he stood, grown suddenly tall, towering above them” ( J.R.R. Tolkien). See Synonyms at rise.
  • intransitive v. To fly directly upward before swooping or falling. Used of certain birds.
  • intransitive v. To demonstrate great superiority; be preeminent: towers over other poets of the day.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.
  • n. A mass of building standing alone and insulated, usually higher than its diameter, but when of great size not always of that proportion.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A citadel; a fortress; hence, a defense.
  • n. A headdress of a high or towerlike form, fashionable about the end of the seventeenth century and until 1715; also, any high headdress.
  • n. High flight; elevation.
  • intransitive v. To rise and overtop other objects; to be lofty or very high; hence, to soar.
  • transitive v. To soar into.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. In chem.: Same as distïlling-tube.
  • n. A drying-apparatus of cylindrical shape: same as calcium-chlorid tube.
  • n. 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.
  • n. In geology, a columnar protrusion of eruptive rock, such as the famous spine of Pelée on Martinique. See cumulovolcano.
  • n. 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.
  • n. In early and medieval warfare, a tall, movable wooden structure used in storming a fortified place.
  • n. A citadel; a fortress; a place of defense or protection.
  • n. In astrology, a mansion.
  • n. In heraldry, a bearing representing a fortified tower with battlements and usually a gate with a portcullis.
  • n. A high commode or headdress worn by women in the reigns of William III. and Anne.
  • n. A wig or the natural hair built up very high.
  • n. An obsolete form of tour.

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

  • v. appear very large or occupy a commanding position
  • n. anything that approximates the shape of a column or tower
  • n. a powerful small boat designed to pull or push larger ships
  • n. a structure taller than its diameter; can stand alone or be attached to a larger building


Middle English tur, tour, towr, from Old English torr and from Old French tur, both from Latin turris, probably from Greek tursis, turris.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English torr. Probably influence by Welsh "twr". (Wiktionary)
tow +‎ -er (Wiktionary)


  • 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.


  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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

    SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Collectibles - Part 10

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

    Ancient Observatory, Beijing

  • 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

  • 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

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

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


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