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 After about 45 minutes, remove the clamps and peel off excess glue with a chisel. Neal Barrett, Popular Mechanics, 7 Aug. 2021 Refine the cuts with a sharp chisel where necessary. Neal Barrett, Popular Mechanics, 31 July 2021 A few days into the trip, McCarthy used a hammer and chisel to break small chunks of the paleosols away from the outcrop., 24 July 2021 A few days into the trip, McCarthy used a hammer and chisel to break small chunks of the paleosols away from the outcrop. Emily Schwing, Anchorage Daily News, 24 July 2021 The letter had been slit open at each corner with a chisel to allow the fumigant inside. Geoff Manaugh, The Atlantic, 20 July 2021 The most successful mammaliaform group of all time was the multituberculates—squirrel-like beasts with chisel-like teeth at the front of their mouths and cheek teeth brimming with cusps. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 July 2021 Deep in the heart of the wilderness in California’s far north, there’s a tiny lake like no other, flanked by a wall that looks like it has been sculpted by a giant with a hammer and chisel. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 July 2021 Then support the leg on a piece of scrap wood, and use a sharp chisel to chop out the waste [6]. Neal Barrett, Popular Mechanics, 5 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 The potential to chisel away costs in the low-margin trucking business has propelled the valuations of these self-driving trucking startups by more than 400% on average over the past year, according to data from PitchBook Data Inc. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, 18 Aug. 2021 The people with the least opportunities continue to struggle and to chisel out ways where ways hadn’t existed. Craig Jenkins, Vulture, 14 July 2021 Don’t chisel Alabama’s name on the SEC West division trophy just yet. Joseph Goodman |, al, 9 July 2021 In the years since, Republican legislators have tried to chisel away at IRS resources, casting the agency as inefficient and tyrannical. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, 18 June 2021 Even this past holiday weekend, which some investors dreaded would chisel away returns even further after an arduous two weeks, delivered a slight boost to Bitcoin’s value. Jessica Mathews, Fortune, 4 June 2021 Even as King spoke, workers there were preparing to chisel the likenesses of Confederate generals into the rockface. Nicole Hemmer, CNN, 27 May 2021

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

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

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Last Updated

11 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Chisel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.

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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)

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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