There are 4 main definitions of peel in English:

peel1

Syllabification: peel
Pronunciation: /pēl
 
/

verb

1 [with object] Remove the outer covering or skin from (a fruit, vegetable, or shrimp): she watched him peel an apple with deliberate care
More example sentences
  • So I watched spotty boys peel potatoes and old guys scoop haddock so tenderly from the deep fryer.
  • 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.
Synonyms
pare, skin, take the skin/rind off;
hull, shell, husk, shuck
technical decorticate
1.1Remove (the outer covering or skin) from a fruit or vegetable: peel off the skins and thickly slice the potatoes
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • I flinched even more than when she was peeling skin off with a sharp tool.
1.2 [no object] (Of a fruit or vegetable) have a skin that can be removed: oranges that peel easily
More example sentences
  • The fruit peels easily and has a nice balance of tang and sugar.
1.3 (peel something away/off) Remove or separate a thin covering or part from the outside or surface of something: carefully peel away the wax paper
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
Synonyms
trim (off), peel off, pare, strip (off), shave (off), remove
1.4Remove (an article of clothing): Suzy peeled off her white pullover
More example sentences
  • Anne growled as she sat up on her bed and began peeling her gloves off, throwing them carelessly to one side.
  • I peeled my shorts off and threw them in my car, and then ran to the water holding my surfboard.
  • 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.
2 [no object] (Of a surface or object) lose parts of its outer layer or covering in small strips or pieces: the walls are peeling
More example sentences
  • The ceiling tiles are waterlogged, the lino is cracked and the walls are peeling.
  • 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.
Synonyms
flake (off), peel off, come off in layers/strips
2.1 [with adverbial] (Of an outer layer or covering) come off, especially in strips or small pieces.
More example sentences
  • Soot-stained paint peeled in great strips from rickety frame buildings, pocked with broken windows that wore rusty, torn screens.
  • 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.

noun

Back to top  
The outer covering or rind of a fruit or vegetable.
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Sift flour, salt and spice, and add to mixture alternately with dried fruit, mixed peel and zest of lemon.
  • Grate the apple over the bread, add the dried fruit and peel, stir in the sugar, marmalade, flour, eggs and spices.
Synonyms

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'.

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
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • The two Interceptors split their formation and peeled off in different headings.

peel out

North American informal Leave quickly: he peeled out down the street
More example sentences
  • Justin revved the engine and quickly shifted, he peeled out as hard as he could.
  • Quickly she slid behind the wheel and peeled out, racing toward Bulgaria.
  • They are peeling out and roaring up and down the street.

Definition of peel in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

There are 4 main definitions of peel in English:

peel2

Syllabification: peel
Pronunciation: /pēl
 
/

noun

A flat, shovellike implement, especially one used by baker for carrying loaves, pies, etc., into or out of an oven: a wooden pizza peel
More example sentences
  • 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 'to fix, plant'.

Definition of peel in:

There are 4 main definitions of peel in English:

peel3

Syllabification: peel
Pronunciation: /pēl
 
/
(also pele or peel tower)

noun

A small square defensive tower of a kind built in the 16th century in the border counties of England and Scotland.
More example sentences
  • The Corbridge pele, built of reused Roman stonework, lies on the edge of the churchyard and was the vicar's house.
  • 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.
  • As a boy, he had dreamt once that he lived in the peel tower at the foot of Strangford Lough.

Origin

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

Definition of peel in:

There are 4 main definitions of peel in English:

peel4

Syllabification: peel
Pronunciation: /pēl
 
/

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.

Definition of peel in: