1 of 2


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


2 of 2


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

transitive verb

: to cut or work with or as if with a chisel
: 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

: to work with or as if with a chisel
: to employ shrewd or unfair practices
: to thrust oneself : intrude
chisel in on a racket
chiseler noun
or chiseller
ˈchi-zə-lər How to pronounce chisel (audio)

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
With a sharp chisel, clean out all the veneer and old glue within that area. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, 6 Oct. 2023 The mountains of premium rock were shipped first to Rajasthan, where thousands of craftsmen used chisel and hammer and ageless technique to extract the loose-limbed god within each block. Justin Davidson, Curbed, 9 Nov. 2023 From another perspective, the fabric almost looks like the undulating surface of an unfinished sculpture by Bernini, waiting for the artist’s chisel. Zachary Small, New York Times, 22 Sep. 2023 Get the tip of the cold chisel between the threads and give the chisel a sharp blow using a ball peen hammer. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, 7 June 2023 This chisels at a chief TikTok creator complaint: making TikToks is hard. Alexandra Sternlicht, Fortune, 22 Sep. 2023 The tools of ancient graffiti artists were simple—a knife, a chisel, perhaps a stick of charcoal. Amy Crawford, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Sep. 2023 Moai were carved using a toki (a chisel made of rock). Gwen McClure, Travel + Leisure, 22 Aug. 2023 Early cans, a niche item, were opened with a chisel and hammer. Leo Deluca, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 July 2023
American officials had long believed that Soviet military personnel were chiseled supermen. Clay Risen, New York Times, 18 Nov. 2023 Extracting a clump using a pick or shovel goes about as fast as chiseling your way out of Alcatraz. Steve Bender, Southern Living, 19 Oct. 2023 The women’s headstones, chiselled from the traditional flinty-looking local stone, are arrayed in a long, dignified arc. Mary Norris, The New Yorker, 12 Oct. 2023 Her other assets were all there, clear to see in the breadth of her game: terrific dodging footwork, whipping strokes, chiseled fitness. Sally Jenkins, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Sep. 2023 The grille is less chiseled than before and flows smoothly into the headlights, similar to how the Q8 e-tron's grille is integrated into the lights. Caleb Miller, Car and Driver, 5 Sep. 2023 Instead, ask yourself what has been left out—what’s been chiselled away from the raw slab of Everything? Jackson Arn, The New Yorker, 10 Aug. 2023 The ability to chisel his answers in an interview into the right timing, the right pauses, the right gestures. Boris Sollazzo, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Aug. 2023 Photo: © 2016 Christie’s Images Limited One of Edmondson’s earliest pieces, a tombstone for a woman named Bernice Williams, is a lamb chiseled out of rough stone, likely around the time the women’s hospital closed. Robert Sullivan, Vogue, 28 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'chisel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1509, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near chisel

Cite this Entry

“Chisel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
chis·​el ˈchiz-əl How to pronounce chisel (audio)
: a metal tool with a cutting edge at the end of a blade used to shape or chip away a solid material (as stone, wood, or metal)


2 of 2 verb
chiseled or chiselled; chiseling or chiselling
: to cut or work with or as if with a chisel
: to use unfair or dishonest methods

Medical Definition


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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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