Try Our Apps


World Series Quiz


[chiz-uh l] /ˈtʃɪz əl/
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.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Caelum.
verb (used with object), chiseled, chiseling or (especially British) chiselled, chiselling.
to cut, shape, or fashion by or as if by carving with a chisel.
to cheat or swindle (someone):
He chiseled me out of fifty dollars.
to get (something) by cheating or trickery:
He chiseled fifty dollars out of me.
verb (used without object), chiseled, chiseling or (especially British) chiselled, chiselling.
to work with a chisel.
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 forms
chisellike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for chiseling
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This chiseling out of streets in such abrupt fashion is puzzling to the person with notions of how tropical people behave.

    The Pacific Triangle Sydney Greenbie
  • After this the chiseling out or mortising can be proceeded with.

  • He is not chiseling, or carving a work of art: he is roughly outlining a man; he is planting a seed, or tilling a field.

    Whitman John Burroughs
  • He would not be much good at chiseling out a medieval cathedral.

    Dear Enemy Jean Webster
  • His mouth was large, but cut with all the precision of a sculptor's chiseling.

  • Her skin was smooth and fair and the chiseling of her features clean and strong.

    Fidelity Susan Glaspell
  • A red-breasted woodpecker was chiseling out a nursery in a tall sycamore at the border of a woodland.

    Our Bird Comrades Leander S. (Leander Sylvester) Keyser
  • You are a cheap, chiseling, doublecrossing, money-grabbing heel.

    Noble Redman Jesse Franklin Bone
  • In the first shop the practice consists of planing, chiseling, turning, and the preparation of patterns for casting.

British Dictionary definitions for chiseling


  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, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
to carve (wood, stone, metal, etc) or form (an engraving, statue, etc) with or as with a chisel
(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
Cite This Source
Contemporary definitions for chiseling

See chizzle's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for chiseling



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.


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
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for chiseling



  1. To cheat or defraud, esp in a petty way; deal unfairly; scam: Every time I buy a car part, he chisels a buck or two (1808+)
  2. To get without necessarily intending to repay or return; bum, mooch: Can I chisel a cigarette from you, pal? (1920s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for chisel

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for chiseling

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for chiseling