\ ˈȯl How to pronounce awl (audio) \

Definition of awl

: a pointed tool for marking surfaces or piercing small holes (as in leather or wood)

Illustration of awl

Illustration of awl

Examples of awl in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Stick to the basics and get a toolbox that includes a good utility knife or rotary cutter, a diamond chisel, a scratch awl, needles, and thread. Sandra Gutierrez G., Popular Science, "Everything you need to know to start leatherworking," 19 Feb. 2021 Sewing Kit: This should include heavy-duty needles, an awl, and dental floss for thread. Jim Baird, Field & Stream, "How to Assemble the Ultimate Bug-Out Kit for Long-Term Wilderness Living," 1 Dec. 2020 Using an awl, mark the hole's location on the side of each piece so that it's centered along the width and positioned ¾ inch from the beveled end. Ted Kilcommons, Popular Mechanics, "This Modern Adirondack Chair Is a Great Woodworking Challenge," 18 July 2020 To test whether the wood has rotted, try poking it with the tip of a screwdriver or an awl. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, "Do these garage doors need to be replaced — or just repainted?," 3 Aug. 2020 Center the hinge on the apron, make starter holes with an awl, and fasten the hinge. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How To Build a Stylish Entryway Storage Bench," 27 June 2020 The oldest metal object unearthed to date is a tiny 6th millennium BCE copper awl found in the Middle East. Grace Wade, Popular Science, "Copper is the ultimate tool for innovation," 16 Apr. 2020 Fine details, like the eyebrows and tears on the middle pumpkin, can be created by using a sharp pencil, or an awl or ice pick to punch holes through the outside. Joan Lang, Woman's Day, "Portrait Pumpkin," 5 Sep. 2019 Measure 7 inches from the top of each leg, and make a small mark with an awl to locate the position of the screw that fastens the flat steel crossbrace, then drill a 9/64 -inch pilot hole in each leg. Ricard Romanski, Popular Mechanics, "How To Build Your Very Own Indoor Firewood Rack," 8 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'awl.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of awl

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for awl

Middle English al, from Old English æl; akin to Old High German āla awl, Sanskrit ārā

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Time Traveler for awl

Time Traveler

The first known use of awl was before the 12th century

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Statistics for awl

Last Updated

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Awl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for awl



English Language Learners Definition of awl

: a pointed tool that is used for marking surfaces or for making small holes in leather, wood, etc.


\ ˈȯl How to pronounce awl (audio) \

Kids Definition of awl

: a pointed tool for making small holes (as in leather or wood)

More from Merriam-Webster on awl

Nglish: Translation of awl for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about awl

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