trow·el | \ˈtrau̇(-ə)l \

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

Scoop after scoop of deep brown earth dug carefully with a trowel and then gently poured into gallon-size glass jars etched with a name — John Henry James — and a date — July 12, 1898. Joe Heim, Washington Post, "Sacred ground, now reclaimed: A Charlottesville story," 7 July 2018 Remember, Trump has many supporters who won’t back anything short of a stonemason standing alongside the border with a trowel. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Proposed DACA pathway complicates border wall funding," 25 June 2018 In the months after, a team of firefighters, police and archaeologists sifted through tons of ashes, crawling on hands and knees with small trowels and six-millimeter sieves to find remains. Jenny Gross, WSJ, "A Year After Deadly Grenfell Blaze, One Fireman Is Still Plagued by Doubt," 16 June 2018 Picture it as a narrow, stout and sturdy trowel with one edge a smooth blade and the other a serrated surface. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Forego the 'fart card' for Father's Day. Try one of these gifts instead," 15 June 2018 Use trowel to apply first coat of plaster to hole, pressing in firmly. The Editors Of House Beautiful, House Beautiful, "How to Fix Holes or Cracks in Plaster," 11 Feb. 2015 Forgoing expensive paintbrushes, Abueva relies instead on drywall trowels, small paint rollers and brushes that are available at any hardware store. Tate Gunnerson,, "After her sons' deaths, Chicago artist put her grief and joy on canvas," 30 May 2018 On the third day, investigators used their hands and small trowels to dig. Shelley Murphy,, "FBI agent describes grisly task of unearthing mob slaying victim in R.I.," 14 May 2018 Use your trowel to make a straight, shallow furrow, and keep rows about six inches apart. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "How to Grow Carrots," 25 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Downstairs is a guest bedroom with a nice sized walk-in closet, crown molding and troweled textured walls. star-telegram, "Ebby Halliday Realtors | Arlington," 21 May 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

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

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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 \

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on trowel

See words that rhyme with trowel

Spanish Central: Translation of trowel

Nglish: Translation of trowel for Spanish Speakers

Comments on trowel

What made you want to look up trowel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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