noun (1)
\ ˈtül How to pronounce tool (audio) \

Definition of tool

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a handheld device that aids in accomplishing a task
b(1) : the cutting or shaping part in a machine or machine tool
(2) : a machine for shaping metal : machine tool
2a : something (such as an instrument or apparatus) used in performing an operation or necessary in the practice of a vocation or profession a scholar's books are his tools
b : an element of a computer program (such as a graphics application) that activates and controls a particular function a drawing tool
c : a means to an end a book's cover can be a marketing tool
d slang, vulgar : penis
3a : one who is used or manipulated by another And then there was former trainer Pfeil, viewed as another tool of management for his gruff ways.— Sam Smith
b informal : a foolish or unlikable person : jerk Before you compete on a reality TV show, you basically sign away your right to protect yourself from looking like a total tool in front of an international viewing audience.— Steve Tilley
4 tools plural : natural ability has all the tools to be a great pitcher


tooled; tooling; tools

Definition of tool (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : drive, ride
2 : to equip a plant or industry with the means (such as machines, machine tools, and instruments) of production often used with up

transitive verb

1 : to shape, form, or finish with a tool especially : to letter or ornament (something, such as leather or gold) by means of hand tools
2a : to cause (a vehicle) to go : drive
b : to convey in a vehicle
3 : to equip (a factory, an industry, etc.) with tools, machines, and instruments for production


noun (2)

Definition of tool (Entry 3 of 3)

: a design (as on the binding of a book) made by tooling

Synonyms for tool

Synonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for tool

Noun (1)

implement, tool, instrument, appliance, utensil mean a relatively simple device for performing work. implement may apply to anything necessary to perform a task. crude stone implements farm implements tool suggests an implement adapted to facilitate a definite kind or stage of work and suggests the need of skill more strongly than implement. a carpenter's tools instrument suggests a device capable of delicate or precise work. the dentist's instruments appliance refers to a tool or instrument utilizing a power source and suggests portability or temporary attachment. household appliances utensil applies to a device used in domestic work or some routine unskilled activity. kitchen utensils

Examples of tool in a Sentence

Verb We tooled along the highway. He tooled a design on the leather belt. a belt made of tooled leather

First Known Use of tool

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1812, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2a

Noun (2)

1881, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tool

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English tōl; akin to Old English tawian to prepare for use — more at taw

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Time Traveler for tool

Time Traveler

The first known use of tool was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Tool.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for tool


\ ˈtül How to pronounce tool (audio) \

Kids Definition of tool

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an instrument (as a saw, file, knife, or wrench) used or worked by hand or machine to perform a task
2 : something that helps to gain an end "… the dictionary is the finest tool ever made for educating young minds …"— Andrew Clements, Frindle
3 : a person used by another : dupe


tooled; tooling

Kids Definition of tool (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to drive or ride in a vehicle
2 : to shape, form, or finish with a tool
3 : to equip a plant or industry with machines and tools for production

More from Merriam-Webster on tool

Nglish: Translation of tool for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tool for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about tool


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