[ awl ]
See synonyms for awl on
  1. a pointed instrument for piercing small holes in leather, wood, etc.

Origin of awl

before 900; Middle English al, eal, aul,Old English al, eal, æl; cognate with Old Norse alr; akin to Middle English ēl,Old English ǣl,Old High German āla (German Ahle), Sanskrit ā́rā

Words that may be confused with awl

Words Nearby awl

Other definitions for A.W.L. (2 of 2)


  1. absent with leave. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use awl in a sentence

  • Really the best method is to make a round denuded spot by twirling a small brad-awl.

    The Treatment of Hay Fever | George Frederick Laidlaw
  • The last act of ownership performed by the master was the piercing of the right ear with an awl.

    Landholding In England | Joseph Fisher
  • Baba Mustapha was seated with an awl in his hand, just going to work.

  • "I'll earn 'em," said the cobbler, with a savage dash of his awl which one of his fingers barely escaped.

    All He Knew | John Habberton
  • The older needlework is of exceptionally good character and shows great skill with the awl.

British Dictionary definitions for awl


/ (ɔːl) /

  1. a pointed hand tool with a fluted blade used for piercing wood, leather, etc: See also bradawl

Origin of awl

Old English ǣl; related to Old Norse alr, Old High German āla, Dutch aal, Sanskrit ārā

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