View synonyms for tool


[ tool ]


  1. an implement, especially one held in the hand, as a hammer, saw, or file, for performing or facilitating mechanical operations.
  2. any instrument of manual operation.
  3. the cutting or machining part of a lathe, planer, drill, or similar machine.
  4. the machine itself; a machine tool.
  5. anything used as a means of accomplishing a task or purpose:

    Education is a tool for success.

  6. a person manipulated by another for the latter's own ends; cat's-paw.
  7. the design or ornament impressed upon the cover of a book.
  8. Underworld Slang.
    1. a pistol or gun.
    2. a pickpocket.
  9. Slang: Vulgar. penis.

verb (used with object)

  1. to work or shape with a tool.
  2. to work decoratively with a hand tool.
  3. to ornament (the cover of a book) with a bookbinder's tool.
  4. to drive (a vehicle):

    He tooled the car along the treacherous path.

  5. to equip with tools or machinery.

verb (used without object)

  1. to work with a tool.
  2. to drive or ride in a vehicle:

    tooling along the freeway.

verb phrase

  1. to install machinery designed for performing a particular job:

    manufacturers tooling up for production.


/ tuːl /


    1. an implement, such as a hammer, saw, or spade, that is used by hand
    2. a power-driven instrument; machine tool
    3. ( in combination )

      a toolkit

  1. the cutting part of such an instrument
    1. any of the instruments used by a bookbinder to impress a design on a book cover
    2. a design so impressed
  2. anything used as a means of performing an operation or achieving an end

    he used his boss's absence as a tool for gaining influence

  3. a person used to perform dishonourable or unpleasant tasks for another
  4. a necessary medium for or adjunct to one's profession

    numbers are the tools of the mathematician's trade

  5. slang.
    another word for penis
  6. an underworld slang word for gun


  1. to work, cut, shape, or form (something) with a tool or tools
  2. tr to decorate (a book cover) with a bookbinder's tool
  3. troften foll byup to furnish with tools
  4. whenintr, often foll by along to drive (a vehicle) or (of a vehicle) to be driven, esp in a leisurely or casual style

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Derived Forms

  • ˈtool-less, adjective
  • ˈtooler, noun

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Other Words From

  • tooler noun
  • toolless adjective
  • multi·tool noun
  • un·tooled adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of tool1

First recorded before 900; Middle English (noun); Old English tōl; cognate with Old Norse tōl “tools”; akin to taw 2

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Word History and Origins

Origin of tool1

Old English tōl; related to Old Norse tōl weapon, Old English tawian to prepare; see taw ²

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Example Sentences

And the law can easily be used as a political tool to punish any disrespect of the state.

He wasn't crazy about being fat, but he saw his body as a tool to use in the making of his career.

Tool around Capitol Hill, which brims gay bars, restaurants, and clubs.

“The spoon was a tool for foreshadowing,” the Facebook page explains.

This study uses the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which is really a tool that tracks crimes.

The execution is such that the drawing of the gown and the lines of the face seem to have been traced by an engraver's tool.

Reaching into one of the secret pockets of his wide black belt he removed a curiously shaped tool of finest tempered steel.

Whoever denied the former proposition was called a tool of the Court.

Mariequita sat near by, dangling her legs, watching him work, and handing him nails from the tool-box.

He could tool a heap like a maniacal genius born with a steering wheel in his hands.