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chisel

[chiz-uh l]
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noun
  1. a wedgelike tool with a cutting edge at the end of the blade, often made of steel, used for cutting or shaping wood, stone, etc.
  2. chisel plow.
  3. (initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Caelum.
verb (used with object), chis·eled, chis·el·ing or (especially British) chis·elled, chis·el·ling.
  1. to cut, shape, or fashion by or as if by carving with a chisel.
  2. to cheat or swindle (someone): He chiseled me out of fifty dollars.
  3. to get (something) by cheating or trickery: He chiseled fifty dollars out of me.
verb (used without object), chis·eled, chis·el·ing or (especially British) chis·elled, chis·el·ling.
  1. to work with a chisel.
  2. to trick; cheat.

Origin of chisel

1325–75; Middle English < Anglo-French, variant of Old French cisel < Vulgar Latin *cīsellus, diminutive of *cīsus, for Latin caesus, past participle of caedere to cut, with -ī- generalized from prefixed derivatives; cf. excide
Related formschis·el·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for chisel

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He left the room, and returned in a few moments with a chisel.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • They saw beauty and pursued it, in colour and sound, by word and chisel.

    Mountain Meditations

    L. Lind-af-Hageby

  • It is better to cut full, and trim down to the lines with a chisel or plane.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats

    Raymond Francis Yates

  • But you can cut off a vine-branch with a dagger or with a chisel, and in many other ways?

  • Jed whistled a few mournful bars and sharpened a chisel on an oilstone.

    Shavings

    Joseph C. Lincoln


British Dictionary definitions for chisel

chisel

noun
    1. a hand tool for working wood, consisting of a flat steel blade with a cutting edge attached to a handle of wood, plastic, etc. It is either struck with a mallet or used by hand
    2. a similar tool without a handle for working stone or metal
verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled
  1. to carve (wood, stone, metal, etc) or form (an engraving, statue, etc) with or as with a chisel
  2. slang to cheat or obtain by cheating

Word Origin

C14: via Old French, from Vulgar Latin cīsellus (unattested), from Latin caesus cut, from caedere to cut
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for chisel

n.

early 14c., from Anglo-French cisel, Old French cisel "chisel," in plural, "scissors, shears" (12c., Modern French ciseau), from Vulgar Latin *cisellum "cutting tool," from Latin caesellum, diminutive of caesus, past participle of caedere "to cut" (see -cide). Related: Chiseled; chiseling.

v.

c.1500, "to break with a chisel," from chisel (n.). Slang sense of "to cheat, defraud" is first recorded in 1808 as chizzel; origin and connection to the older word are obscure (cf. slang sense of gouge); chiseler in this sense is from 1918. Related: Chiseled; chiseling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper