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

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Other Words from chisel


chiseler or chiseller \ ˈchi-​zə-​lər How to pronounce chiseller (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 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 The goldsmith or silversmith had been content to make plain dashes, so to speak, with his chisel, and these dashes had been allowed to make patterns. V. S. Naipaul, The New Yorker, "The Strangeness of Grief," 30 Dec. 2019 My favorite iteration is the 125-grain cut-on-contact model, but the chisel point version (shown) works just fine too. Field & Stream, "The Best Hunting and Fishing Gear of the Decade," 27 Dec. 2019 Fashioned from the mineral jadeite, the chisel-style implement was found at the site of Ek Way Nal, a Maya salt works in southern Belize that is now submerged in a saltwater lagoon. Fox News, "27 Maya ritual sites discovered on online map by eagle-eyed archaeologist," 20 Oct. 2019 Ryobi Bench Grinder Dull chisels or a dull plane iron are ridiculously frustrating to use. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "18 Essential Tools For Your First Woodshop," 15 Oct. 2019 Leiko, who set up his work bench in the outdoor pavilion, used various sizes of chainsaws, chisels and other implements to create sculptures from blocks of ice. Carol Kovach, cleveland, "Inaugural Frosty’s Fest a big hit for We Are Parma Proud," 9 Dec. 2019 Some used jackhammers and saws to cut through the concrete and rebar, but others used hand tools like hammers and chisels. Sharon Coolidge,, "'We will do whatever we can': Inside the search for the man buried in building collapse," 27 Nov. 2019 The new find, unearthed in 2016, includes cylindrical fragments of bronze, along with a bronze knife, awl, and small chisel. Andrew Curry, Science | AAAS, "3000-year-old toolkit suggests skilled warriors crossed Europe to fight an epic battle," 15 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Last year alone, more than 11,000 spectators came to watch as nearly 100 artists sawed and chiseled blocks of ice into gallery-worthy masterpieces. Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Painstaking Art of Ice Carving," 7 Feb. 2020 But its smooth edges and wide stance cut a less aggressive, less modern figure than the last gen's angular and chiseled body. Annie White, Car and Driver, "Ford's New Escape Leaves a Bitter Aftertaste," 27 Jan. 2020 Running water has scoured channels, chiseled cliffs and leached precious minerals from the volcanic and sedimentary rocks, thus attracting miners and ranchers to this otherwise desolate land 30 miles west of Phoenix. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "Don't be put off by the unimpressive beginning. This AZ hike leads to dramatic red rocks," 19 Dec. 2019 Richard Foster, one of the festival’s directors, notes the links to Renaissance artists’ chiselled male forms in Laaksonen’s work. B.f. | Kendal, The Economist, "Revisiting Tom of Finland’s sexually explicit oeuvre," 24 Oct. 2019 Bieber wrote under the black-and-white photo that shows off Simpson’s chiseled abs. Claudia Harmata,, "Justin Bieber Wants Miley Cyrus and Cody Simpson Double Date, Calls Simpson's Body a 'Wonderland'," 10 Oct. 2019 Leedskalnin moved to Florida City in 1920 and spent the next 28 years quarrying rock and chiseling out his masterpiece: Coral Castle, an 1,100-ton monument to his unrequited love. Phillip Valys,, "How to meet ghosts at South Florida’s 5 most (allegedly) haunted landmarks," 26 Sep. 2019 The Cincinnati Fire Department along with Urban Search and Rescue crews from the state worked through the night chiseling through concrete and cutting through steel rebar. Madeline Mitchell,, "Cincinnati building collapse: 'The heart of the City of Cincinnati goes out to the family'," 27 Nov. 2019 When the border between East and West Germany opened on the night of Nov. 9, 1989, revelers hacked and chiseled at the Berlin Wall, which had divided the city for decades. Ruby Mellen, Washington Post, "Four unexpected places where the Berlin Wall still stands," 8 Nov. 2019

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.

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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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for chisel

Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Chisel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for chisel


How to pronounce chisel (audio)

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)

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