[ trou-uh l ]
/ ˈtraʊ əl /


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

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
Related formstrow·el·er; especially British, trow·el·ler, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for trowel

British Dictionary definitions for trowel


/ (ˈtraʊəl) /


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

(tr) to use a trowel on (plaster, soil, etc)
Derived Formstroweller or US troweler, noun

Word Origin for trowel

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



mid-14c., "tool for spreading plaster or mortar," from Old French truele (13c.), from Late Latin truella "small ladle, dipper" (mid-12c.), diminutive of Latin trua "a stirring spoon, ladle, skimmer." The gardening tool was so called since 1796.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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.