\ 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 Bone splinters can become needles or awls, triangular bone chips can become arrowheads and random chunks can become buttons or toggles. Tim Macwelch, Outdoor Life, "10 Deer Parts That Will Keep You Alive," 17 Dec. 2019 Tip: Use an awl or pin tool to create holes if squash is too hard. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "Ghostly Gourds," 9 Sep. 2019 There’s no evidence of smaller bird talons being used as awls or needles, and Rodriguez and his colleagues say it’s unlikely the Neanderthals would use only eagle talons for those purposes, when a range of sizes would make sense. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Did Neanderthals make eagle talon necklaces 120,000 years ago?," 20 Nov. 2019 The little toolkit includes scrap metal as well as tools that would have been used in daily life, such as a chisel, an awl with its birch handle still preserved, a knife and a small sword. Megan Gannon, Smithsonian, "What a Warrior’s Lost Toolkit Says About the Oldest Known Battle in Europe," 16 Oct. 2019 Also included were a small sword, knife, awl and chisel. Fox News, "3,000-year-old tools discovered in Europe show how far warriors traveled for battle," 22 Oct. 2019 The ancient kit contained a bronze knife with a curved blade, an awl decorated with ladders and rows of triangles, and a bronze chisel, along with an assortment of bronze scraps and small ingots. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Archaeologists unearth a Bronze Age warrior’s personal toolkit," 18 Oct. 2019 The objects include a bronze awl, a chisel and knife, bronze fragments, and a small, cylindrical bronze box designed to be worn on a belt. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "Puzzling artifacts found at Europe's oldest battlefield," 16 Oct. 2019 The items included a knife, chisel, bronze sheet fragments, three dress pins, a decorated belt box, a bronze awl with a birch handle, a bronze spiral and other pieces. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Bronze Age warrior's belongings recovered from famous battlefield," 15 Oct. 2019

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

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Awl.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for awl


How to pronounce awl (audio)

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)

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More from Merriam-Webster on awl

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with awl

Spanish Central: Translation of awl

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

Comments on awl

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showing steady, earnest care and effort

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