[ trou-uhl ]
See synonyms for: troweltroweledtrowelingtrowelled on

  1. any of various tools having a flat blade with a handle, used for depositing and working mortar, plaster, etc.

  2. a similar tool with a curved, scooplike blade, used in gardening for taking up plants, turning up earth, etc.

verb (used with object),trow·eled, trow·el·ing or (especially British) trow·elled, trow·el·ling.
  1. to apply, shape, smooth, or dig with or as if with a trowel.

Origin of trowel

1300–50; Middle English <Old French truelle<Late Latin truella, equivalent to Latin tru(a) ladle + -ella-elle

Other words from trowel

  • trow·el·er; especially British, trow·el·ler, noun

Words Nearby trowel Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use trowel in a sentence

  • I got a trowel, and we planted the withered trilliums in partial shade between the maples and the pines, and gave them water.

    The Idyl of Twin Fires | Walter Prichard Eaton
  • He found the trowel under the fence, as Gardener Jim had prophesied, and he worked all day, with a brief nooning at home.

    Country Neighbors | Alice Brown
  • Sophy disappeared into the house, and came out again, hurriedly, with a trowel in her hand.

    Country Neighbors | Alice Brown
  • trowel and spade and tomahawk went furiously to work, and soon cleared away the gravel from a surface of three or four feet.

  • The cement can be forced into place with the hands and then surfaced with a trowel.

    Elements of Plumbing | Samuel Dibble

British Dictionary definitions for trowel


/ (ˈtraʊəl) /

  1. any of various small hand tools having a flat metal blade attached to a handle, used for scooping or spreading plaster or similar materials

  2. a similar tool with a curved blade used by gardeners for lifting plants, etc

verb-els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled
  1. (tr) to use a trowel on (plaster, soil, etc)

Origin of trowel

C14: from Old French truele, from Latin trulla a scoop, from trua a stirring spoon

Derived forms of trowel

  • troweller or US troweler, noun

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with trowel


see under lay it on thick.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.