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)

Example Sentences

Verb He chiseled off a corner of the block. Letters were chiseled into a wall.
Recent Examples on the Web
The full-coverage lipsticks deliver a high pigment payoff on every skin tone and won’t smudge — especially not on microphones — while eyebrow pencils boast a sweat- and budge-proof formula and a unique chisel tip that makes for effortless filling and shaping. Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel, 25 Apr. 2023 Square the mortise ends with a sharp chisel. Neal Barrett, Popular Mechanics, 31 July 2021 Holes large enough for two lines are my preference, and that has always been a chore for an auger and an ice chisel. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Apr. 2023 Square the corners of the rabbet by carefully chopping down with a sharp chisel, and then glue in the bottom. Paul Steiner, Popular Mechanics, 24 Mar. 2023 Lower-body chisel. Karla Peterson Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 Oct. 2020 These classical forms have persisted as formal references in type design, even as technology progressed well beyond the days of chisel and stone. Aileen Kwun, New York Times, 29 Mar. 2023 The justices may have realized that reviving the doctrine in full would be a sledgehammer instead of a mere chisel. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 13 Mar. 2023 And in a workshop set in a nearby hardwood stand, Dave Constantine of Durand, one of America's preeminent turkey call makers and wildlife carvers, sits at a bench and chisels life into a block of basswood. Paul A. Smith, Journal Sentinel, 12 Mar. 2023
Countless mallard ducks with each feather painstakingly chiseled and painted. Christine Condon, Baltimore Sun, 11 May 2023 Cantu chiseled the wheel’s old weights off of its rim and scraped the inside of the rim clean. Michael Grabell, ProPublica, 3 May 2023 The base will not abandon Trump over this, because for the base, the story line in the event of an adverse finding by this jury is already chiseled into stone—liberal court, woke jury, et cetera. Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 1 May 2023 Imma get real chiseled up and do an underwear ad with my sons. Charmaine Patterson, Peoplemag, 21 Mar. 2023 Soon, Clint Sr. was sharing his idea of an education, designed to ensure enduring wealth and chisel the Murchison name into the granite of high society. Dallas News, 1 Dec. 2022 As the sole Democrat left at the Fed board in Washington after 2018, Ms. Brainard used her position to draw attention to efforts to chisel away at bank rules, a process that was being driven by Randal K. Quarles, the Fed’s vice chair for supervision, who is stepping down in December. New York Times, 22 Nov. 2021 Rather than chisel out a V shape, the widened cracks should be squared off, which helps the patch stay in place better. Washington Post, 26 Oct. 2020 There was always a lot of encouragement to chisel it down as far as possible. Clark Collis,, 21 Apr. 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 29 May. 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

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