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 chiselling (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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from chisel


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

Examples of chisel in a Sentence


He chiseled off a corner of the block. Letters were chiseled into a wall.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Set against this are the pleasures of making things by hand and looking more closely at the natural world: Berg learns how to level a chisel, and to know the rates at which various species of wood dry. John Williams, New York Times, "Can Handiwork Save Your Soul? A Quiet Novel Suggests It Can," 10 July 2018 Clean up the bottom of each dado with a 1/4-inch chisel. Roy Berendson, Popular Mechanics, "6 Simple Projects You Can Make From Scrap Wood," 21 Mar. 2018 Regan loved tools, and kept his chisels and planes razor sharp. Anne M. Hamilton,, "He Brought His Skill For Teaching, Knack For Colonial Buildings To Coventry," 15 July 2018 That means that instead of chisel work in the field, the paleontologists are wielding jackhammers and rock saws. Steve Johnson,, "'Antarctic Dinosaurs' bring new ice age to Field Museum," 13 June 2018 That's a lot of work, and most bone tools from the same time period aren't nearly so carefully prepared; bone awls and chisels were usually worked just enough to sharpen the business end. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Early Middle-Eastern culture had a thing for gazelle scapula," 1 May 2018 Bites were served at a bar where bread was sliced with a workman’s saw and for dessert, oversize bricks of chocolate were hammered into with a chisel. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Yoox, Toiletpaper, and Wallpaper* Host a Garage-Cowboy Disco to Close Out Salone del Mobile," 20 Apr. 2018 Applications include metal, concrete, and drywall demo, or driving a punch or chisel. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "Dewalt Debuts Its First Sledgehammers and Axes With Carbon Fiber Handles," 21 Mar. 2018 The team also found chunks of black rock and pieces of red ochre that had been punctured by sharp stone chisels. Ann Gibbons, Science | AAAS, "Signs of symbolic behavior emerged at the dawn of our species in Africa," 15 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Signs of the procedure, which usually involves chiseling an opening in a living someone’s head, have been found across North and South America, Polynesia, Ancient Greece, the Far East, Russia and Africa, with varying results. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Inca Skull Surgeons Had Better Success Rates Than American Civil War Doctors," 14 June 2018 By any standards, Robbie bears a striking, real-life likeness to the original 1950s doll—blue eyes, blonde hair, chiseled features, and a jaw-dropping figure that took center stage in her breakout role in The Wolf of Wall Street. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Will Margot Robbie's Starring Role as Barbie Reinforce Old Stereotypes—or Defy Them?," 9 Jan. 2019 Just one session will leave your face looking slim and chiseled, but repeated sessions will guarantee your best skin ever on the big day. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "17 Over-the-Top Beauty Treatments to Try Before Your Wedding Day," 13 Dec. 2018 Her nose appears to be chiseled, though contouring is nothing new for Kardashian (or for any of her sisters for that matter). Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Khloé Kardashian Just Cleared Up Rumors That She Got a Nose Job," 23 July 2018 The banishment of a Palm portrait subject is no small thing, as the portraits are usually painted straight onto the walls and have to be literally chiseled away. Town & Country, "Wall of Shame: What Happens to Controversial Portrait Walls in the #MeToo Era?," 30 Nov. 2018 Morton, who has a man bun and is chiseled from his cheekbones on down, is definitely a favorite of many. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "Peloton’s $2,000 stationary bike has totally disrupted working out at home," 14 Nov. 2018 Rabbits are easy to spot in the garden (look for them early in the morning); damage caused by rabbits appears in the form of neatly clipped stems on tender shoots and small, chiseled gnaw marks on woody plants. Tim Johnson,, "Rabbits feasting on your garden? Wire fencing is your friend," 15 June 2018 His flowing mane, chiseled visage and perfect pecs have adorned book covers, magazine covers and movie screens. Charles Fleming,, "L.A. Drives: Carving a Malibu canyon with Fabio," 15 Mar. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chisel

Statistics for chisel

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chisel

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for chisel



English Language Learners Definition of chisel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a metal tool with a flat, sharp end that is used to cut and shape a solid material (such as stone, wood, or metal)



English Language Learners Definition of chisel (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cut or shape (something) with a 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)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on chisel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chisel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chisel

Spanish Central: Translation of chisel

Nglish: Translation of chisel for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on chisel

What made you want to look up chisel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of returning to life

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!