1

whittle

noun whit·tle \ ˈhwi-tᵊl , ˈwi- \
Updated on: 7 Dec 2017

Definition of whittle

archaic
: a large knife

Recent Examples of whittle from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'whittle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of whittle

Middle English whittel, alteration of thwitel, from thwiten to whittle, from Old English thwītan; akin to Old Norse thveita to hew


2

whittle

verb

Definition of whittle

whittled; whittling play \ˈhwit-liŋ, ˈwit-; ˈhwi-tᵊl-iŋ, ˈwi-\
transitive verb
1 a : to pare or cut off chips from the surface of (wood) with a knife
b : to shape or form by so paring or cutting
2 : to reduce, remove, or destroy gradually as if by cutting off bits with a knife : pare
  • whittle down expenses
intransitive verb
1 : to cut or shape something (such as wood) by or as if by paring it with a knife
2 : to wear oneself or another out with fretting

whittler

play \ˈhwit-lər, ˈwit-; ˈhwi-tᵊl-ər, ˈwi-\ noun

Examples of whittle in a Sentence

  1. He was sitting on the porch, whittling a stick.

  2. She whittled a walking stick from a maple tree branch.

Recent Examples of whittle from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'whittle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of whittle

1552



WHITTLE Defined for English Language Learners

whittle

verb

Definition of whittle for English Language Learners

  • : to cut or shape (a piece of wood) by cutting small pieces from it : to make or shape (something) from a piece of wood by cutting small pieces from it


WHITTLE Defined for Kids

whittle

verb whit·tle \ ˈhwi-tᵊl , ˈwi- \

Definition of whittle for Students

whittled; whittling
1 : to cut or shave off chips from wood : shape by cutting or shaving off chips from wood
2 : to reduce little by little
  • They are trying to whittle down their spending.


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