Main definitions of peel in English

: peel1peel2peel3peel4

peel1

verb

  • 1[with object] Remove the outer covering or skin from (a fruit, vegetable, or prawn):

    ‘she watched him peel an apple with deliberate care’
    • ‘We girls had to help from the time we were real small, with the cooking, peeling potatoes, setting the table and all that.’
    • ‘His mother was in the kitchen, peeling potatoes.’
    • ‘So I watched spotty boys peel potatoes and old guys scoop haddock so tenderly from the deep fryer.’
    • ‘As the potatoes are cooking, peel the onion, cut it in half and then into thick slices.’
    • ‘Cook some broth, peel the potatoes and cut into slices.’
    • ‘If you're eating off the market, peel vegetables and fruit.’
    • ‘‘We try to use as many fresh ingredients as possible and cooks are busy in the morning peeling potatoes and carrots for that day's menu,’ said Mr Marshall.’
    • ‘To peel prawns, twist off their heads and pull off the ‘legs’.’
    • ‘He's done every job there from cleaning the kitchen and sweeping floors to peeling potatoes, managing the storeroom and cooking.’
    • ‘He was sitting on the quay at a turn in the canal, peeling an orange, dropping bits of skin into the water.’
    • ‘‘We don't believe that the onus should be on the consumer to wash and peel fruit and vegetables to remove pesticides,’ a spokeswoman said.’
    • ‘They don't have the equipment to peel the carrots and potatoes, and there are nowhere near enough ovens.’
    • ‘I peeled the orange quickly wondering how she got the fruit.’
    • ‘I spent the day peeling onions and potatoes, chopping carrots, sweeping, and helping with the laundry.’
    • ‘While the bird is colouring in the butter you can peel the garlic, trim and cut the celery into short lengths.’
    • ‘All the workers had an interesting life story that she or he shares while cutting carrots or peeling potatoes.’
    • ‘Primary prevention consists of hand washing, drinking only safe water, peeling all fruits and vegetables, and eating well-cooked foods.’
    • ‘As a child, it was always a great treat to visit her in the cafe and help her: chopping vegetables, peeling potatoes, mixing ice cream.’
    • ‘While the squash is roasting, peel the onions and slice them finely.’
    • ‘Alternatively, slice off the skin as if you were peeling an apple in a spiral.’
    pare, skin, take the rind off, take the skin off, strip, shave, trim, flay
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Remove (the outer covering or skin) from a fruit or vegetable:
      ‘peel off the skins and thickly slice the potatoes’
      • ‘As I investigated it, it was like peeling the skin of an onion.’
      • ‘Small, firm, and with a sweet flesh, but its thick skin should be peeled before use.’
      • ‘I flinched even more than when she was peeling skin off with a sharp tool.’
      • ‘If the skin is thin and unwaxed, you do not need to peel the skin from the cucumber.’
      • ‘Here's an easy way to peel the parchment skin from garlic: Place the clove on a chopping block and slice off the root end.’
      • ‘The skins were peeled from frozen berries to avoid mixing with pulp.’
      • ‘The old method of preparing potato juice was to cut the potato into thin slices without peeling the skin and place overnight in a large glass filled with cold water.’
      • ‘He cuts small pieces of bamboo, then peels the skin and creates each letter for the words.’
      • ‘After the outer skin is peeled, the sponges (as the fruits now resemble) are soaked in a bath of one part bleach to three parts water.’
      • ‘Halve the papaya, scoop out the seeds, peel the flesh then chop roughly.’
      • ‘He peeled the rough skin from the bulb and raised it to his mouth.’
    2. 1.2[no object] (of a fruit or vegetable) have a skin that can be removed:
      ‘oranges that peel easily’
      • ‘The fruit peels easily and has a nice balance of tang and sugar.’
  • 2peel something off[with object] Remove a thin outer covering or part:

    ‘I peeled off the tissue paper’
    • ‘He peeled a couple of bills from his fat, just-got-paid billfold and waved it towards the bartender.’
    • ‘To avoid this, keep the wings and windshields covered when the plane is at rest so that you can simply peel them away when you're ready to fly.’
    • ‘Small round holes were punched on it in a gridlike pattern before the emulsion was peeled away from its paper backing.’
    • ‘As the adhesive is peeled away, each fibril is pulled into tension until it decoheres as shown in Figure 4.’
    • ‘Many are believed still to be alive as their skins are peeled away.’
    • ‘When they are cool enough to handle, peel the skin away from the flesh and shred the flesh into rough strips.’
    • ‘If using fresh tomatoes, plunge them into boiling water for 30 seconds, then pop in cold water, enabling you to peel the skins away.’
    • ‘It is then laid on a table where the acrylics are peeled away from the paper.’
    • ‘He watched Trudy as she carefully peeled the coarse linen away and rolled it up like a map.’
    • ‘Tomorrow, weather permitting, the excess silicon will be peeled away and the new glass given a thorough polish.’
    peel off, pare, remove, take off, flay
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1peel something off Remove an item of clothing:
      ‘Suzy peeled off her white pullover’
      • ‘He came out in a white chef's coat and shorts, but quickly peeled the jacket off to reveal a black and white silk shirt, much more in keeping with the Miami locale.’
      • ‘Higgins promises to return the next day and leaves the room; she peels off her surgical garments and tosses them in a waste bin.’
      • ‘She didn't say anything when he unwound her arms from around him and pulled her shirt over her head, peeled her underwear off and stuck her under the running water.’
      • ‘The cotton linen of his robe stuck to his skin and I saw his grimace when I peeled it off of him, discarding the clothing in a pile on the floor.’
      • ‘The 28-year old skids to a halt, undoes her safety belt and leaps athletically from the car, slowly peeling off her driving gloves.’
      • ‘She peeled it off, and threw it in a heap on one of the expensive wooden chairs.’
      • ‘‘I'm so hot and sweaty having walked all the way in from home’ she explains as she peels off her jacket.’
      • ‘I peeled my shorts off and threw them in my car, and then ran to the water holding my surfboard.’
      • ‘Anne growled as she sat up on her bed and began peeling her gloves off, throwing them carelessly to one side.’
      • ‘Then slowly, she grabbed the hem of her shirt and peeled it off of her sweaty skin, exposing a white bra with little yellow/green squares.’
      take off, strip off, cast off, remove, discard, throw off
      doff, divest oneself of
      View synonyms
  • 3[no object] (of a surface or object) lose parts of its outer layer or covering in small strips or pieces:

    ‘the walls are peeling’
    • ‘The long hallway was much like the first floor had been: everything covered in dust, walls peeling, ceilings cracked, and missing floorboards.’
    • ‘Their red paint is peeling, as is that on most of the house.’
    • ‘The paper of the wall was peeling; the plaster from the moisture of the weather and the old heritage of the building itself.’
    • ‘Mine looks slightly different: the paint is peeling, the viewpoint is higher.’
    • ‘In the other places along the wall it was peeling so much she could see the original color of black.’
    • ‘Today, its exquisite towering antique stained glass windows are broken and covered in layers of dust, its walls are cracked and peeling and the weak wooden balcony cannot support a choir anymore.’
    • ‘Cargo could not see the logic in his friend's words; they were in an empty, shabby, room with walls that were peeling almost as much as the fence outside.’
    • ‘It is a multi-stemmed specimen with glossy amber or golden brown bark that peels in thin strips.’
    • ‘Its walls were peeling and it had graffiti all over it, but it was shelter, and it would be better than the streets.’
    • ‘As it peels, paint chips are loosened and can be ingested by children.’
    • ‘The ceiling tiles are waterlogged, the lino is cracked and the walls are peeling.’
    • ‘However, the coatings often don't adhere well to the charged surfaces of metals, so they're prone to peeling and flaking.’
    • ‘The War Museum was a square building, whose white paint was peeling and chipping off around the edges.’
    • ‘Watered-down paint soaks into the porous concrete so it won't flake or peel like surface paint does.’
    • ‘The walls were not peeling, the furniture wasn't broken, and the floor and ceiling had obviously been fixed by the different shades of wood.’
    • ‘Our kitchen had blue shiny tiles on the floor, and plain white wallpaper peeling on the walls.’
    • ‘The walls are peeling and the windows are broken and I smell what smells like burning hair.’
    • ‘The grain is flat or tangential, and the exterior layers are peeling.’
    • ‘The huts were basic, their green paint peeling, and their beds sagging, but the sheets were clean, the sun shining and the fresh mountain air tinged with the smoke of camp fires was invigorating.’
    • ‘Likewise, with a wall prone to damp, raw brick can be easier to maintain, avoiding the problems of paint or paper peeling, or plasterwork buckling.’
    peel off, come off in layers, come off in strips
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1[with adverbial] (of an outer layer) come off in strips or small pieces:
      ‘if it's paper you're washing, make sure it won't peel off if it gets damp’
      ‘paint was peeling from the shopfronts’
      • ‘A carpet devoid of patterns covered the steps, a dark green wallpaper attempting to cover the walls but peeling away as well.’
      • ‘He washes his hands repeatedly till the skin starts peeling off.’
      • ‘Striking copper coloured bark on the stems and trunk peels off in large pieces to reveal lighter new bark below making it irresistible to stop and touch.’
      • ‘There are cracks spreading in the concrete balconies, paint peeling from the building, and its signs are in disrepair.’
      • ‘Soot-stained paint peeled in great strips from rickety frame buildings, pocked with broken windows that wore rusty, torn screens.’
      • ‘Wallpaper was nearly peeling down the walls, curled with age.’
      • ‘But the years have taken their toll, with paint peeling away, rust setting in and parts going missing.’
      • ‘Throughout the year, curling strips of the cinnamon-red outer bark peel off to reveal the paler young bark beneath.’
      • ‘After six hours working there the skin was peeling off the palms of your hands.’

noun

  • 1[mass noun] The outer covering or rind of a fruit or vegetable:

    ‘pieces of potato peel’
    • ‘The peel of the fruit will darken in the refrigerator but the banana inside will remain firm and delicious.’
    • ‘By rubbing banana peels over your face, you can soften your skin while protecting it from the sun as well.’
    • ‘Sugar or honey should be added to taste, and fruit peel can impart bitterness.’
    • ‘Grate the apple over the bread, add the dried fruit and peel, stir in the sugar, marmalade, flour, eggs and spices.’
    • ‘Combine the fruit peels with the vodka in a jar, cover and let stand for 1 week.’
    • ‘What next, said the Herald, oranges with no peel, potatoes without jackets?’
    • ‘You shake off bits of fruit peel from your shoe and march off, victorious.’
    • ‘This is a quality vodka that delivers the aroma and flavour of the juice rather than the harsher peel from the fruit (in this case, lemons).’
    • ‘Sift flour, salt and spice, and add to mixture alternately with dried fruit, mixed peel and zest of lemon.’
    • ‘Marmalades are soft fruit jellies with small pieces of fruit or citrus peel evenly suspended in a transparent jelly.’
    • ‘For example, use the zest - the outermost layer of a citrus fruit's peel - from lemons or limes to liven up your salads and soups.’
    • ‘For the fruits, I used candied bitter orange peels, green raisins, and dried apricots, figs (black and white), and peach.’
    • ‘Place all dried fruits, grated apple, mixed peel, cherries, rinds and juices into a large mixing bowl and pour over the brandy/rum and essences.’
    • ‘She pulled a piece of peel away and tossed it at Victor.’
    • ‘The fruit's peel and pit are also of medical use.’
    • ‘I began stapling the banana peels to paper rectangles, then gluing the rectangles to the jacket.’
    • ‘When I grew up, we were told that our relatives in mainland China had only banana peels to eat.’
    • ‘Shortly before you are ready to serve, cut away the pith and peel of the remaining four oranges.’
    • ‘The government now says it's OK to eat fruit peel.’
    • ‘The pelting water bothers them, so they migrate to the dried fruit peel in the trashcan.’
    rind, skin, covering, zest
    hull, pod, crust, shuck, capsule, outer layer
    epicarp, pericarp, exocarp
    integument
    View synonyms
  • 2An act of exfoliating dead skin in the cosmetic treatment of microdermabrasion.

    • ‘The surgeon or dermatologist begins the peel by cleansing the skin to remove all oils, dirt and soap traces.’
    • ‘At-home body peels also can keep skin even-toned.’
    • ‘Two years after the peel, her skin looked like an elderly woman's, mottled with brown and red blotches.’
    • ‘Collagen injection followed laser hair removal, microdermabrasion and chemical peel in the non-surgical overall category.’
    • ‘Would a peel help reduce the risk of skin cancer?’
    • ‘A skin peel is a good general treatment for the face.’
    • ‘It's also possible to renew sun-damaged areas with a peel or microdermabrasion, which lifts surface skin layers.’
    • ‘Crucially, the peel strips away some of the skin's ability to protect itself against the sun.’
    • ‘Combination and normal skin types should use a glycolic peel every 1-2 weeks.’
    • ‘For faster fading, your dermatologist may prescribe a stronger lightener, chemical peel, laser treatment or even a combination of the three.’
    • ‘She obviously looks after her skin, and she may even have had a glycolic peel to remove dull cells and reveal her healthy, radiant skin.’
    • ‘Chemical peels smooth out rough skin and minimize fine lines.’
    • ‘Laser resurfacing uses an ultrapulse laser to scan skin layers deeper than a chemical peel.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • peel off

    • Leave a formation or group by veering away:

      ‘the pace was much too hot for Beris, and he peeled off after five laps’
      • ‘Now the second swimmer sprints for 65 strokes, then peels off for the third swimmer's lead.’
      • ‘As they stare in horror at the old house, the cries suddenly cease and the stoic hero peels off, his tires squealing on the gravel country road.’
      • ‘Slowly I get up to the lights, then across them, and the traffic is clearing, as the town centre road peels off, then the next road.’
      • ‘Then, for your second session, the pace car peels off, and you're free to push the car as fast as you want to go.’
      • ‘They marched out in regular formation, peeling off two by two at each main street to patrol their beats on foot.’
      • ‘You can hear the rush of wings and the odd cry, but mainly it's a silent movement with birds joining in the aerial display, or peeling off in formation.’
      • ‘The two Interceptors split their formation and peeled off in different headings.’
      • ‘He leads the charge, towing his teammates round for a lap; his team mate takes over as he peels off.’
  • peel out

    • Leave quickly:

      ‘he peeled out down the street’
      • ‘I got in my car, shut the door, and waved bye before peeling out.’
      • ‘They are peeling out and roaring up and down the street.’
      • ‘Quickly she slid behind the wheel and peeled out, racing toward Bulgaria.’
      • ‘Justin revved the engine and quickly shifted, he peeled out as hard as he could.’
      • ‘Just then, I heard the sound of Kate peeling out of the driveway.’
      • ‘Successful, she pulled it on, shut the door, and peeled out of the drive, on accident of course.’
      • ‘Cars are heard revving their engines and peeling out of the parking lot.’
      • ‘Sullivan gets in his car, and peels out of the garage.’
      • ‘He peeled out of the lot, tires squealing, kicking up gravel into the caterwauling clerk's face.’
      • ‘I roll my eyes as Keith peels out of the parking lot.’

Origin

Middle English (in the sense ‘to plunder’): variant of dialect pill, from Latin pilare to strip hair from, from pilus hair. The differentiation of peel and pill may have been by association with the French verbs peler to peel and piller to pillage.

Pronunciation:

peel

/piːl/

Main definitions of peel in English

: peel1peel2peel3peel4

peel2

noun

archaic
  • A shovel, especially a baker's shovel for carrying loaves into or out of an oven.

    • ‘Generously dust a peel or back of a sheet pan with cornmeal and very gently transfer the loaves to the peel or pan.’
    • ‘I assume that meant that he was making peels, long-handled wooden tools used by bakers to load and unload bread from ovens.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French pele, from Latin pala, from the base of pangere fasten.

Pronunciation:

peel

/piːl/

Main definitions of peel in English

: peel1peel2peel3peel4

peel3

(also peel tower, pele)

noun

  • A small square defensive tower of a kind built in the 16th century in the border counties of England and Scotland.

    • ‘As a boy, he had dreamt once that he lived in the peel tower at the foot of Strangford Lough.’
    • ‘Since 1966, when together with his brother he sold the island of Eigg, his base was a peel tower in Dumfriesshire.’
    • ‘Heading towards the Borders, at Bemersyde, the garden of the 16th century peel tower to which a mansion house was added in the 17th century, was laid out by Field Marshal Earl Haig.’
    • ‘The Corbridge pele, built of reused Roman stonework, lies on the edge of the churchyard and was the vicar's house.’
    • ‘It was not a castle, did not need moats or peel towers, and had no fortifications, unless the owner in the late 18th cent. had a taste for mock Gothic and battlements.’

Origin

Probably short for synonymous peel-house: peel from Anglo-Norman French pel stake, palisade, from Latin palus stake.

Pronunciation:

peel

/piːl/

Main definitions of peel in English

: peel1peel2peel3peel4

peel4

verb

[WITH OBJECT]Croquet
  • Send (another player's ball) through a hoop:

    ‘the better players are capable of peeling a ball through two or three hoops’

Origin

Late 19th century: from the name of Walter H. Peel, founder of the All England Croquet Association, a leading exponent of the practice.

Pronunciation:

peel

/piːl/