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Peel vs. Peal – Pick the Correct Word

Peel vs. Peal – Pick the Correct Word

While you’re likely quite familiar with one of these words, the other has a more specialized meaning. Can you guess which one is which?

Peel and peal are both legitimate words, and they are pronounced the same way. However, their meanings are quite different depending on whether you use peel or peal.

Short and Sweet: Peel vs. Peal

Peel and peal are completely separate words, despite their identical pronunciation.

  • As a noun, peel is the outer layer of some fruits and vegetables. The act of removing that layer is the verb “to ” One can also peel other things.
  • Peal is succession of resounding sounds, usually bells or laughter.

This article provides further discussion of these definitions, as well as examples and a memory trick to help you choose peal or peel in your writing.

What Does Peel Mean?

Meaning of Peel: Peel is a noun and a verb. The outer layer, or skin, of bananas and citrus fruits, such as oranges, is called the peel. To remove this outer layer is to peel the fruit. You can peel other things, too. The act of peeling looks like pulling a thin layer back slowly, usually where at least one side is sticky.

  • Some drinks use a curl of lemon peel for decoration.
  • I can peel an orange and keep the peel all in one piece!

You can peel other fruits and veggies, like apples, potatoes, and onions. The outer layer on these other foods produce items is called the skin, and not a peel. However, the act of removing that layer of skin is still called peeling.

  • I always peel the potatoes when making mashed potatoes, but some people prefer to leave the skins on.
  • While I don’t mind the apple skin myself, I have to peel the apples for the kids.

Other things besides fruits and vegetables can peel or be peeled.

  • The boys peeled off their muddy clothes after playing in the rain.
  • You have to peel the backing off before you use the sticker.
  • We need to redo the wallpaper; the old stuff is starting to peel.
  • My sunburn is peeling.

Lastly, peel can mean the movement of people pulling away from a group.

  • The dancers started to peel off in pairs.
  • The bridesmaids and groomsmen walk down the aisle together, but peel off to either side when they reach the altar.

What Does Peal Mean?

Meaning of Peal: A peal is a set of ringing sounds, usually bells.

  • The peal of wedding bells resounded throughout the square.
  • The bells continued pealing during the entire funeral procession.

One can also hear a peal of laughter or a peal of thunder.

  • The students attempted to control their giggling, but a peal of laughter rang out through the courtyard.
  • A flash of lightning foretells the pealing of thunder.

Peal vs. Peel: How to Remember the Difference

A peal is a sound you can hear. Remember that the vowel pairing “EA” appears in both peal and hear. When not referring to a sound, you should always use peel.

Recap: When to Use Peel and Peal

Despite sounding the same, peel and peal are quite different words.

Peel is fairly common. As a noun, peel means the outer layer of bananas and citrus fruits. As a verb, to peel is the act of pulling back the outer layer of both fruits and other things.

Peal is a much less common word, used specifically to mean a set of ringing sounds—almost always bells or laughter.



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