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 Phrases
  1. tool up, to install machinery designed for performing a particular job: manufacturers tooling up for production.

Origin of tool

before 900; Middle English (noun); Old English tōl; cognate with Old Norse tōl tools; akin to taw2
Related formstool·er, nountool·less, adjectivemul·ti·tool, nounun·tooled, adjective

Synonyms for tool

1. T ool , implement , instrument , utensil refer to contrivances for doing work. A tool is a contrivance held in and worked by the hand, for assisting the work of (especially) mechanics or laborers: a carpenter's tools. An implement is any tool or contrivance designed or used for a particular purpose: agricultural implements. An instrument is anything used in doing a certain work or producing a certain result, especially such as requires delicacy, accuracy, or precision: surgical or musical instruments. A utensil is especially an article for domestic use: kitchen utensils. When used figuratively of human agency, tool is generally used in a contemptuous sense; instrument , in a neutral or good sense: a tool of unscrupulous men; an instrument of Providence. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for tooled up

tooled up

  1. slang equipped with a weapon, esp a gun


    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 endhe 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 professionnumbers are the tools of the mathematician's trade
  5. slang another word for penis
  6. British 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. (tr often foll by up) to furnish with tools
  4. (when intr, often foll by along) to drive (a vehicle) or (of a vehicle) to be driven, esp in a leisurely or casual style
Derived Formstooler, nountool-less, adjective

Word Origin for tool

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



Old English tol "instrument, implement," from Proto-Germanic *tolan (cf. Old Norse tol), from a verb stem represented by Old English tawian "prepare." The ending is the instrumental suffix -l (e.g. shovel). Figurative sense of "person used by another for his own ends" is recorded from 1660s. Slang meaning "penis" first recorded 1550s.



"to drive a vehicle," 1812, probably from tool (n.). The meaning "to work or shape with a tool" is recorded from 1815; that of "equip (a factory) with machine tools" is from 1927. Related: Tooled; tooling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper