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A towel is a piece of absorbent fabric whose chief use is for drying objects, by drawing moisture (usually water) from the object, into the fabric, through direct contact, with either a blotting or rubbing motion.

Towels are usually provided in hotel and motel rooms for the guests to use.

Table of contents
1 Types of Towels
2 Alternative uses
3 Cultural significance

Types of Towels

Note: unlike the above-mentioned items, a kitchen towel is not made of fabric but rather is a perforated roll of absorbent paper normally fixed to a wall-mounted horizontal rod a little longer than the width of the roll.

Alternative uses

Towels are often used for purposes other than drying things.

Cultural significance

Towels have long been thought of as nothing more than utilitarian objects that everybody has, but about which nobody really thinks twice. This changed when Douglas Adams' The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy attained cult status in the 1980s. He described his characters travelling around his universe, often as hitch-hikers, finding that towels were the most "massively useful" objects they could carry. The fictitious time/space traveller and Guide Researcher Ford Prefect uses the idiom "a guy who always knows where his towel is" to mean someone generally alert and aware, someone who in 1960's Earth slang might have called "with it".

Fans of Adams' books have seized on this idea, and towels are now considered a symbol of one's devotion to the Hitchhiker books, radio series, TV series, website, etc.