whittle down

Definition of whittle down

  1. :  to gradually make (something) smaller by removing parts We whittled the list down to four people.

Word by Word Definitions

  1. :  a large knife

  1. :  to pare or cut off chips from the surface of (wood) with a knife

    :  to shape or form by so paring or cutting

    :  to reduce, remove, or destroy gradually as if by cutting off bits with a knife :  pare

  1. :  toward or in a lower physical position

    :  to a lying or sitting position

    :  toward or to the ground, floor, or bottom

  1. :  down (see 1down) along, around, through, toward, in, into, or on

  1. :  to cause to go or come down (see 1down) : such as

    :  to cause to fall by or as if by shooting :  bring down

    :  consume

  1. :  occupying a low position

    :  lying on the ground

    :  directed or going downward

  1. :  descent, depression

    :  an instance of putting down (see 1down) (as an opponent in wrestling)

    :  a complete play to advance the ball

  1. :  an undulating usually treeless upland with sparse soil

    :  a sheep of any breed originating in the downs of southern England

  1. :  a covering of soft fluffy feathers

    :  these feathers

    :  something soft and fluffy like down

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