[chiz-uh l]


verb (used with object), chis·eled, chis·el·ing or (especially British) chis·elled, chis·el·ling.

verb (used without object), chis·eled, chis·el·ing or (especially British) chis·elled, chis·el·ling.

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 formschis·el·like, adjective


[chiz-uh ld]


cut, shaped, etc., with a chisel: chiseled stone.
sharply or clearly shaped; clear-cut: She has finely chiseled features.
Also especially British, chis·elled.

Origin of chiseled

First recorded in 1730–40; chisel + -ed2
Related formsun·chis·eled, adjectiveun·chis·elled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for chiselled

carve, sculpt, hew, sculpture, shape, incise, roughcast

Examples from the Web for chiselled

Contemporary Examples of chiselled

  • Dr. Christian Jessen, the chiselled face of Embarrassing Bodies, cites a number of reasons.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Grossest TV Show Ever

    Venetia Thompson

    October 3, 2010

Historical Examples of chiselled

  • On the other are chiselled the arms of the family to whom the Tower belongs.


    Prosper Merimee

  • Morse looked at him with a face cold as chiselled marble and as hard.

    Brand Blotters

    William MacLeod Raine

  • The work may be chiselled either in a vertical or a horizontal position.

    Woodwork Joints

    William Fairham

  • A more beautiful figure than hers even Skopas himself has not chiselled.

    Quo Vadis

    Henryk Sienkiewicz

  • The walls, the floor, the roof were all chiselled as smooth as glass.

    Under the Witches' Moon

    Nathan Gallizier

British Dictionary definitions for chiselled


US chiseled


carved or formed with or as if with a chisel
clear-cutfinely chiselled features



  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

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 for chisel

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 chiselled



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.



"having sharp outlines," 1821, figurative past participle adjective from chisel (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper