trow·​el | \ ˈtrau̇(-ə)l How to pronounce trowel (audio) \

Definition of trowel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: any of various hand tools used to apply, spread, shape, or smooth loose or plastic material also : a scoop-shaped or flat-bladed garden tool for taking up and setting small plants


troweled or trowelled; troweling or trowelling

Definition of trowel (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to smooth, mix, or apply with or as if with a trowel

Illustration of trowel

Illustration of trowel


trowel: 1 gardener's, 2 plasterer's, 3 bricklayer's

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from trowel


troweler noun

Examples of trowel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Keep a bag of kitty litter nearby, along with a cheap trowel for scooping it into the bucket after each use, extra toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. Matt Jancer, Wired, "The Best Emergency Gear to Keep at Home," 17 Feb. 2021 Having a sturdy trowel can be a huge help with that last one. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "The best trowels for your on the go needs," 20 Jan. 2021 Look for firm soil, not too rocky or sandy; a trowel, while not strictly necessary, will make the job easier. Malia Wollan, New York Times, "How to Build a Covert Fire," 8 Dec. 2020 As with a trowel, a shovel’s weak point is the attachment of the blade to the handle. Beth Botts,, "Gardening gifts and trusty tools for the discerning green thumb," 6 Dec. 2020 Many others, including a light sculpture by Isamu Noguchi, a colorful oil on canvas by Fernand Léger, and a giant outdoor sculpture of a trowel by Claes Oldenburg, eked past their low estimates. James Tarmy,, "Hong Kong’s Auction Market Is Soaring as New York Stumbles," 2 Dec. 2020 Mix well with a margin trowel, then press the cement into the hole, divot, or around penetration points. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Waterproof Your Basement," 12 Oct. 2020 Like if you were handed a trowel and asked to move a mound of dirt that a backhoe just dumped at your feet. Adrienne Donica, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Snow Shovels for Clearing Driveways and Sidewalks," 12 Oct. 2020 Consider traveling with a trowel, TP and sealable plastic bags. Washington Post, "Camping or hosteling during the pandemic? Here’s how to scout out your best bathroom options.," 24 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Refractory Cement, Brick: Rutland Fire Clay Black Furnace Cement was troweled into the sink to protect it. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "How to Make a Forge and Start Hammering Metal," 2 Jan. 2020 Cleverly, though, the movie’s writer, series creator Julian Fellowes, finds an unexpected new layer to trowel onto all the displacement angst., "Cleverly, though, the movie’s writer, series creator Julian Fellowes, finds an unexpected new layer to trowel onto all the displacement angst. Suffice it to say that being faced with irrelevance sure can be a royal pain.," 18 Sep. 2019 The indoor-outdoor floor plan feels light and airy with white oak floors, troweled plaster walls and high ceilings. Los Angeles Times, "Designer Kim Gordon sells contemporary beach retreat in Venice for $3.25 million," 4 Sep. 2019 Jay Longino’s screenplay lards all the hoop action and comedy with troweled-on sentimentality and even a little romance — a little in this case still being too much. Mark Feeney,, "In ‘Uncle Drew,’ Kyrie dribbles, Kyrie shoots, Kyrie acts," 27 June 2018 The treatment also distinguishes the living room from the dining area and contrasts with the troweled-concrete floor. Marni Elyse Katz,, "Sisters build a relaxed summer retreat in coastal Maine," 15 June 2018 Rooms feature both Oaxacan tiles and troweled concrete. Jennifer Fernandez, WSJ, "’50s Motels Go From Bleak to Chic," 8 June 2018 Drywall will be thinner and more uniform than plaster, which is usually troweled right up to the electrical box. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "How to Remove Wallpaper," 7 Feb. 2018 In addition to Chip and Jo painting the antiquarian island, the couple also finished the Romanesque cabinet by troweling a hard slab of concrete on top. Michelle Darrisaw, Southern Living, "Joanna Gaines Reveals the Favorite Part of Her Kitchen," 13 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trowel.' 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 trowel


13th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1670, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for trowel


Middle English truel, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin truella, from Latin trulla ladle

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Time Traveler for trowel

Time Traveler

The first known use of trowel was in the 13th century

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Statistics for trowel

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Trowel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for trowel



English Language Learners Definition of trowel

: a small tool with a curved blade that is used by gardeners for digging holes
: a small tool with a flat blade that is used for spreading and smoothing mortar or plaster


trow·​el | \ ˈtrau̇-əl How to pronounce trowel (audio) \

Kids Definition of trowel

1 : a small hand tool with a flat blade used for spreading and smoothing mortar or plaster
2 : a small hand tool with a curved blade used by gardeners

More from Merriam-Webster on trowel

Nglish: Translation of trowel for Spanish Speakers

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