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


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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Artists wear nitrate gloves to prevent the butter from breaking down, and use sculpting tools similar to those used for clay pottery, including metal chisels and scrapers, to mold the sculptures. Fox News, "At Ohio State Fair, butter brings Apollo 11's moonmen to life," 24 July 2019 He and a friend used a chisel to remove the roof, laid a little fiberglass down and installed a plastic windshield from a speed boat. Kevin Wallevand, Twin Cities, "A Minnesota bachelor farmer dies, and now his 250 cars are for sale," 8 Aug. 2019 At a yard run by the Ram Birthplace Trust, an organization overseeing construction, men pounded chisels into slabs of stone, carving swirls of flowers. New York Times, "Under Modi, Hindus Find Hope for a Temple on Disputed Speck of Land," 1 July 2019 Specialized drills have a chisel setting that allows the tool to work in a percussion mode without rotary action at all. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "Cordless Drill/Driver vs Impact Driver: Which Do You Need?," 24 Jan. 2019 When the researchers removed the skulls from their surrounding rock using a chisel and hammer, tiny bone fragments became dislodged as well. Stephanie Demarco,, "210,000-year-old skull in Greece is earliest sign of modern humans in Europe or Asia," 10 July 2019 The tools were chisels and gouges with a variety of blades; Mr. Esterly had 130 such implements on hand at his workbench. New York Times, "David Esterly, 75, Master Carver Steeped in History and Nature, Dies," 21 June 2019 The giant portrait crafted with plaster and chisels has greeted people driving into Downtown on 5th Street since 2011. Cameron Knight,, "Downtown mural covered in concrete, owner says wall had to be secured," 2 July 2019 The tools were chisels and gouges with a variety of blades; Mr. Esterly had 130 such implements on hand at his workbench., "David Esterly, master carver steeped in history and nature, dies at 75," 22 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Believe Chris Evans, the moral compass of America held together by chiseled abs of steel. Nick Romano,, "Chris Evans raving about Toni Collette in Hereditary to Toni Collette is all of us," 8 Sep. 2019 If that still doesn’t feel fast enough for you, Maureen, try chiseling a hole in your muffler. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Manual shifting of automatic brings more power, noise," 1 Sep. 2019 One inspiring thing: 'What you're born with is what you're born with' Twenty-one-year-old Zion Clark is like many young wrestlers: Lean, chiseled and full of grit. Petra Cahill, NBC News, "Florida on alert, Hong Kong activists detained & senior gamers: The Morning Rundown," 30 Aug. 2019 Take a daylong road trip, looping through Guillaumes to see the Gorges de Dalius, an impressive red-rock canyon chiseled by the frothy Var River. National Geographic, "How to go wild in the French Riviera," 5 Aug. 2019 Maybe our world was strained out of the heavens, like a handful of mud drawn up from a river, or perhaps the two were chiseled apart by a crafty god or estranged like lovers. Amelia Urry, Washington Post, "Scientists know gravity exists. They just don’t know how it works.," 16 Aug. 2019 Go ahead and chisel that last quote right into the base of the statue., "Why Giants’ Madison Bumgarner, Warriors’ Klay Thompson are zen brothers," 3 Aug. 2019 One is a handsome and famous U.S. soccer star whose chiseled features seem certain to guarantee him endless mega-rich endorsement deals. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'See You Soon': Film Review," 23 July 2019 If that still doesn't feel fast enough for you, Maureen, try chiseling a hole in your muffler., "Car Talk: Mystery overheating may be due to cooling fan," 21 July 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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Statistics for chisel

Last Updated

20 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chisel

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

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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)

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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).


to spread over or through

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