chis·​el | \ ˈchi-zᵊl How to pronounce chisel (audio) \

Definition of chisel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a metal tool with a sharpened edge at one end used to chip, carve, or cut into a solid material (such as wood, stone, or metal)


chiseled or chiselled; chiseling or chiselling\ ˈchi-​zə-​liŋ How to pronounce chisel (audio) , ˈchiz-​liŋ \

Definition of chisel (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cut or work with or as if with a chisel
2 : to employ shrewd or unfair practices on in order to obtain one's end also : to obtain by such practices chisel a job

intransitive verb

1 : to work with or as if with a chisel
2a : to employ shrewd or unfair practices
b : to thrust oneself : intrude chisel in on a racket

Other Words from chisel


chiseler or chiseller \ ˈchi-​zə-​lər How to pronounce chisel (audio) , ˈchiz-​lər \ noun

Examples of chisel in a Sentence

Verb He chiseled off a corner of the block. Letters were chiseled into a wall.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Versatile artists like Michelangelo, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Antonio Canova based their immense artistic authority on their skill with the lowly chisel. Ingrid D. Rowland, The New York Review of Books, 27 Apr. 2022 If Durant is a painter with a palette of fine watercolors, Antetokounmpo is a sculptor wielding a mallet and a chisel. New York Times, 1 May 2022 Being a brown-haired, chisel-jawed, 25-year-old model who comfortably fits within longstanding beauty standards helps. Allure, 7 Apr. 2022 Researchers used a hammer and chisel to harmlessly remove tiny pieces of coral from reefs at several sites near Oahu and installed that coral into the tank. NBC News, 10 Mar. 2022 Traditionally tā moko artists used a chisel to scar and mark the skin while the modern tool is a tattoo machine. Gabriela Miranda, USA TODAY, 31 Dec. 2021 For a homeowner, chipping out the old mortar with a brick hammer and a pointing chisel, rather than tackling the job with a power grinder, minimizes the risk of damaging the brick. Washington Post, 27 Dec. 2021 The 1986 paper was the equivalent of a sculptor’s cutting down a statue’s raw form from a mammoth block of marble, and the papers Rozin published in its aftermath were the chisel-maneuvering that revealed a detailed anatomy underneath. New York Times, 27 Dec. 2021 Apprentices, however, required numerous chisel strikes. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Try this workout—Reeves’ original—and chisel your own legendary physique. Men's Health, 24 Apr. 2022 The Trojans trailed 49-42 with 6:45 to go, but USC would chisel that down to two on a three-pointer from Tera Reed. Los Angeles Times, 25 Feb. 2022 Creating the seven courses there required extensive blasting to chisel ski runs out of gray cliffs near the Great Wall. New York Times, 22 Jan. 2022 Since then, there's been a campaign to chisel away at the truth of what really went down. Andrea Towers,, 20 Jan. 2022 Players have 10 minutes to chisel out the shape from the treat or be shot to death. Hahna Yoon, Wired, 13 Oct. 2021 Johnson worked out with Montgomery every day during the pandemic, and helped chisel his frame into rock-hard muscle. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland, 30 Oct. 2021 Heck, someone might just try to chisel it into the Soldier Field facade. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 17 Oct. 2021 Ella Emhoff continues to chisel away at the fashion world’s rigid beauty standards. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 7 Oct. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of chisel


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1509, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for chisel


Middle English, from Anglo-French *chisel, cisel, from Vulgar Latin *cisellum, alteration of caesellum, from Latin caesus, past participle of caedere to cut

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Time Traveler for chisel

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The first known use of chisel was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

27 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Chisel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for chisel


chis·​el | \ ˈchi-zəl How to pronounce chisel (audio) \

Kids Definition of chisel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a metal tool with a sharp edge at the end of a usually flat piece used to chip away stone, wood, or metal


chiseled or chiselled; chiseling or chiselling

Kids Definition of chisel (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cut, shape, or carve with a chisel A name was chiseled into stone.


chis·​el | \ ˈchiz-əl How to pronounce chisel (audio) \

Medical Definition of chisel

: a metal tool with a cutting edge at the end of a blade especially : one used in dentistry (as for cutting or shaping enamel)

More from Merriam-Webster on chisel

Nglish: Translation of chisel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chisel for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about chisel


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