c. 1400, "rise high" (implied in towered); see tower (n.). Also, of hawks, "to fly high so as to swoop down on prey" (1590s). Related: Towering.
Old English torr "tower, watchtower," from Latin turris "a tower, citadel, high structure" (also source of Old French tor, 11c., Modern French tour; Spanish, Italian torre "tower"), possibly from a pre-Indo-European Mediterranean language. Meaning "lofty pile or mass" is recorded from mid-14c. Also borrowed separately 13c. as tour, from Old French tur; the modern spelling (1520s) represents a merger of the two forms.
erected in the Champ-de-Mars for the Paris Universal Exposition of 1889; at 984.25 feet the world's tallest structure at the time. Designed by French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923).
symbol of artistic or intellectual aloofness, by 1889, from French tour d'ivoire, used in 1837 by critic Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve (1804-1869) with reference to the poet Alfred de Vigny (1797-1863), whom he accused of excessive aloofness.
Et Vigny, plus secret, comme en sa tour d'ivoire, avant midi rentrait. [Sainte-Beuve, "Pensées d'Août, à M. Villemain," 1837]
Used earlier as a type of a wonder or a symbol of "the ideal." The literal image is perhaps from Song of Solomon [vii:4]:
Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus. [KJV]
c. 1300, touret "small tower forming part of a city wall or castle," from Old French torete (12c., Modern French tourette), diminutive of tour "tower," from Latin turris (see tower (n.1)). Meaning "low, flat gun-tower on a warship" is recorded from 1862, later also of tanks. Related: Turreted. Welsh twrd is from English.
1650s, "pertaining to the Etruscans," from Latin Tyrrheni, from Greek Tyrrenoi "Tyrrhenians," from tyrsis "tower, walled city" (cognate with Latin turris "tower"). Earlier Tyrrhene (late 14c.).