Main definitions of peel in US English:

: peel1peel2peel3peel4

peel1

verb

  • 1with object Remove the outer covering or skin from (a fruit, vegetable, or shrimp)

    ‘she watched him peel an apple with deliberate care’
    • ‘Cook some broth, peel the potatoes and cut into slices.’
    • ‘To peel prawns, twist off their heads and pull off the ‘legs’.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Primary prevention consists of hand washing, drinking only safe water, peeling all fruits and vegetables, and eating well-cooked foods.’
    • ‘They don't have the equipment to peel the carrots and potatoes, and there are nowhere near enough ovens.’
    • ‘I spent the day peeling onions and potatoes, chopping carrots, sweeping, and helping with the laundry.’
    • ‘His mother was in the kitchen, peeling potatoes.’
    • ‘Alternatively, slice off the skin as if you were peeling an apple in a spiral.’
    • ‘If you're eating off the market, peel vegetables and fruit.’
    • ‘I peeled the orange quickly wondering how she got the fruit.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘He was sitting on the quay at a turn in the canal, peeling an orange, dropping bits of skin into the water.’
    • ‘He's done every job there from cleaning the kitchen and sweeping floors to peeling potatoes, managing the storeroom and cooking.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘We girls had to help from the time we were real small, with the cooking, peeling potatoes, setting the table and all that.’
    • ‘All the workers had an interesting life story that she or he shares while cutting carrots or peeling potatoes.’
    • ‘While the bird is colouring in the butter you can peel the garlic, trim and cut the celery into short lengths.’
    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’
      • ‘Halve the papaya, scoop out the seeds, peel the flesh then chop roughly.’
      • ‘I flinched even more than when she was peeling skin off with a sharp tool.’
      • ‘He peeled the rough skin from the bulb and raised it to his mouth.’
      • ‘The skins were peeled from frozen berries to avoid mixing with pulp.’
      • ‘He cuts small pieces of bamboo, then peels the skin and creates each letter for the words.’
      • ‘If the skin is thin and unwaxed, you do not need to peel the skin from the cucumber.’
      • ‘Small, firm, and with a sweet flesh, but its thick skin should be peeled before use.’
      • ‘As I investigated it, it was like peeling the skin of an onion.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2no 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 offwith object Remove or separate a thin covering or part from the outside or surface of something.

    ‘carefully peel away the wax paper’
    • ‘He watched Trudy as she carefully peeled the coarse linen away and rolled it up like a map.’
    • ‘If using fresh tomatoes, plunge them into boiling water for 30 seconds, then pop in cold water, enabling you to peel the skins away.’
    • ‘Tomorrow, weather permitting, the excess silicon will be peeled away and the new glass given a thorough polish.’
    • ‘Small round holes were punched on it in a gridlike pattern before the emulsion was peeled away from its paper backing.’
    • ‘When they are cool enough to handle, peel the skin away from the flesh and shred the flesh into rough strips.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He peeled a couple of bills from his fat, just-got-paid billfold and waved it towards the bartender.’
    • ‘It is then laid on a table where the acrylics are peeled away from the paper.’
    • ‘Many are believed still to be alive as their skins are peeled away.’
    • ‘As the adhesive is peeled away, each fibril is pulled into tension until it decoheres as shown in Figure 4.’
    trim, trim off, peel off, pare, strip, strip off, shave, shave off, remove, take off, flay
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1peel something off Remove an item of clothing.
      ‘Suzy peeled off her white pullover’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘I'm so hot and sweaty having walked all the way in from home’ she explains as she peels off her jacket.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She peeled it off, and threw it in a heap on one of the expensive wooden chairs.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Higgins promises to return the next day and leaves the room; she peels off her surgical garments and tosses them in a waste bin.’
      • ‘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
      View synonyms
  • 3no object (of a surface or object) lose parts of its outer layer or covering in small strips or pieces.

    ‘the walls are peeling’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the other places along the wall it was peeling so much she could see the original color of black.’
    • ‘It is a multi-stemmed specimen with glossy amber or golden brown bark that peels in thin strips.’
    • ‘The paper of the wall was peeling; the plaster from the moisture of the weather and the old heritage of the building itself.’
    • ‘Its walls were peeling and it had graffiti all over it, but it was shelter, and it would be better than the streets.’
    • ‘The War Museum was a square building, whose white paint was peeling and chipping off around the edges.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As it peels, paint chips are loosened and can be ingested by children.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Mine looks slightly different: the paint is peeling, the viewpoint is higher.’
    • ‘Our kitchen had blue shiny tiles on the floor, and plain white wallpaper peeling on the walls.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Watered-down paint soaks into the porous concrete so it won't flake or peel like surface paint does.’
    • ‘Their red paint is peeling, as is that on most of the house.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘However, the coatings often don't adhere well to the charged surfaces of metals, so they're prone to peeling and flaking.’
    • ‘The long hallway was much like the first floor had been: everything covered in dust, walls peeling, ceilings cracked, and missing floorboards.’
    • ‘The ceiling tiles are waterlogged, the lino is cracked and the walls are peeling.’
    flake, flake off, peel off, come off in layers, come off in strips
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1with adverbial (of an outer layer or covering) come off, especially in strips or small pieces.
      • ‘After six hours working there the skin was peeling off the palms of your hands.’
      • ‘A carpet devoid of patterns covered the steps, a dark green wallpaper attempting to cover the walls but peeling away as well.’
      • ‘But the years have taken their toll, with paint peeling away, rust setting in and parts going missing.’
      • ‘There are cracks spreading in the concrete balconies, paint peeling from the building, and its signs are in disrepair.’
      • ‘He washes his hands repeatedly till the skin starts peeling off.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Throughout the year, curling strips of the cinnamon-red outer bark peel off to reveal the paler young bark beneath.’

noun

  • The outer covering or rind of a fruit or vegetable.

    • ‘Combine the fruit peels with the vodka in a jar, cover and let stand for 1 week.’
    • ‘Grate the apple over the bread, add the dried fruit and peel, stir in the sugar, marmalade, flour, eggs and spices.’
    • ‘I began stapling the banana peels to paper rectangles, then gluing the rectangles to the jacket.’
    • ‘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 government now says it's OK to eat fruit peel.’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘The fruit's peel and pit are also of medical use.’
    • ‘The peel of the fruit will darken in the refrigerator but the banana inside will remain firm and delicious.’
    • ‘Sift flour, salt and spice, and add to mixture alternately with dried fruit, mixed peel and zest of lemon.’
    • ‘Sugar or honey should be added to taste, and fruit peel can impart bitterness.’
    • ‘You shake off bits of fruit peel from your shoe and march off, victorious.’
    • ‘Shortly before you are ready to serve, cut away the pith and peel of the remaining four oranges.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Marmalades are soft fruit jellies with small pieces of fruit or citrus peel evenly suspended in a transparent jelly.’
    • ‘What next, said the Herald, oranges with no peel, potatoes without jackets?’
    • ‘The pelting water bothers them, so they migrate to the dried fruit peel in the trashcan.’
    • ‘When I grew up, we were told that our relatives in mainland China had only banana peels to eat.’
    • ‘By rubbing banana peels over your face, you can soften your skin while protecting it from the sun as well.’
    rind, skin, covering, zest
    View synonyms

Phrasal Verbs

  • peel off

    • (of a member of a formation, especially a flying formation) leave the formation by veering away to one side.

      ‘the pace was much too hot for Beris, and he peeled off after five laps’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The two Interceptors split their formation and peeled off in different headings.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They marched out in regular formation, peeling off two by two at each main street to patrol their beats on foot.’
      • ‘He leads the charge, towing his teammates round for a lap; his team mate takes over as he peels off.’
      • ‘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.’
  • peel out

    • Leave quickly.

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

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

/pil//pēl/

Main definitions of peel in US English:

: peel1peel2peel3peel4

peel2

noun

archaic
  • A flat, shovellike implement, especially one used by baker for carrying loaves, pies, etc., into or out of an oven.

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

Origin

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

Pronunciation

peel

/pēl//pil/

Main definitions of peel in US 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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

peel

/pēl//pil/

Main definitions of peel in US English:

: peel1peel2peel3peel4

peel4

verb

[with object]Croquet
  • Send (another player's ball) through a wicket.

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

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

/pil//pēl/