drill

1
[ dril ]
/ drɪl /

noun

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to pierce or bore something with or as with a drill.
to go through exercise in military or other training.

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Origin of drill

1
1605–15; < Dutch dril (noun), drillen (v.)

synonym study for drill

3. See exercise.

OTHER WORDS FROM drill

drill·a·ble, adjectivedrill·a·bil·i·ty, noundrill·er, nounun·drill·a·ble, adjective

Definition for drill (2 of 4)

drill2
[ dril ]
/ drɪl /

noun

a small furrow made in the soil in which to sow seeds.
a row of seeds or plants thus sown.
a machine for sowing in rows and for covering the seeds when sown.

verb (used with object)

to sow (seed) in drills.
to sow or plant (soil, a plot of ground, etc.) in drills.

verb (used without object)

to sow seed in drills.

Origin of drill

2
1720–30; compare drill rill, German Rille furrow, rillen to groove

OTHER WORDS FROM drill

drill·er, noun

Definition for drill (3 of 4)

drill3
[ dril ]
/ drɪl /

noun

a strong, twilled cotton fabric.

Origin of drill

3
First recorded in 1735–45; short for drilling2

Definition for drill (4 of 4)

drill4
[ dril ]
/ drɪl /

noun

a large, baboonlike monkey, Mandrillus leucophaeus, of western Africa, similar to the related mandrill but smaller and less brightly colored: now endangered.

Origin of drill

4
1635–45; of obscure origin; cf. mandrill
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

ABOUT THIS WORD

What else does drill mean?

In music and pop culture, drill is a style of hip-hop known for grim, violent lyrics and gritty, intense beats. Drawing on Southern rap, drill originated in Chicago in the 2010s and influenced, among others, a UK style of hip-hop known as UK drill.

What are some other words related to drill?

grime
mumble rap
trap music

Where does drill come from?

Drill is a type of trap music—a popular and influential Southern hip-hop genre characterized by dark, raw electronic beats and aggressive, provocative lyrics involving drugs and crime—that originated in Chicago, Illinois, in the 2010s.

Some key early rappers of the drill scene are Pacman, King Louie, and Chief Keef. Big artists from other hip-hop genres, including Kanye West and Drake, helped popularize drill, notably when Kanye West remixed Chief Keef’s 2012 “I Don’t Like” in 2013.

Like the tool and action the word originally defines, drill is intended to evoke violent and sexual aspects of a hard-hitting lifestyle or circumstances.

While some may find the application of the word drill to hip-hop alarming or challenging, drill has been used as sexual slang since the early 1600s and as slang for shooting someone since the late 1700s. Drill metaphors also have yielded such expressions as drilling someone (yelling at them), drilling information into something (so they learn it), or military drill.

Around 2012, Chicago drill music began influencing what’s called UK drill, originating in the South London neighborhood of Britxon. It also draws from such UK-based genres as grime, garage, and road rap. Like Chicago drill, UK drill deals with experiences of poverty, public housing, drug-dealing, and street violence.

The graphic, almost nihilistic content of drill music has drawn condemnation, with some critics concerned that the music glorified, and therefore, encouraged violence. In summer 2018, London’s Metropolitan Police, for instance, took down a number of YouTube drill music videos over concerns about a spike in knife-related crimes.

Many drill artists and fans, however, think the music exposes the harsh realities of Black poverty—its stylistic characteristics are a form of social critique and commentary.

How is drill used in real life?

Drill can refer to the genre itself—also called drill music, drill rap, or drill hip-hop.

Drill is often used attributively, too, as in drill artist or drill scene.

In addition to Chicago drill and UK drill, there is a noted drill scene in New York City, commonly referred to as New York drill or Brooklyn (BK) drill.

More examples of drill:

“In recent years, the highly aggressive lyrics in drill music have been the cause of great debate over whether or not they’re influencing the violence plaguing Chicago.”
—Tony Delerme, HuffPost, December 2014

“The similarities between life in Chicago and Brooklyn inspired Sheff to channel the spirit and passion of drill into his own music … Sheff made clear that his take on drill was a showcase for lyricism, and for Brooklyn’s trademark unbothered attitude.”
—Pitchfork, Alphonse Pierre, May 2019

Example sentences from the Web for drill

British Dictionary definitions for drill (1 of 4)

drill1
/ (drɪl) /

noun

verb

See also drill down

Derived forms of drill

drillable, adjectivedriller, noun

Word Origin for drill

C17: from Middle Dutch drillen; related to Old High German drāen to turn

British Dictionary definitions for drill (2 of 4)

drill2
/ (drɪl) /

noun

a machine for planting seeds in rows or depositing fertilizer
a small furrow in which seeds are sown
a row of seeds planted using a drill

verb

to plant (seeds) by means of a drill

Derived forms of drill

driller, noun

Word Origin for drill

C18: of uncertain origin; compare German Rille furrow

British Dictionary definitions for drill (3 of 4)

drill3

drilling

/ (drɪl) /

noun

a hard-wearing twill-weave cotton cloth, used for uniforms, etc

Word Origin for drill

C18: variant of German Drillich, from Latin trilīx, from tri- + līcium thread

British Dictionary definitions for drill (4 of 4)

drill4
/ (drɪl) /

noun

an Old World monkey, Mandrillus leucophaeus, of W Africa, related to the mandrill but smaller and less brightly coloured

Word Origin for drill

C17: from a West African word; compare mandrill
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