Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A flat-bladed hand tool for leveling, spreading, or shaping substances such as cement or mortar.
  • n. A small implement with a pointed, scoop-shaped blade used for digging, as in setting plants.
  • transitive v. To spread, smooth, form, or scoop with a trowel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A mason’s tool, used in spreading and dressing mortar, and breaking bricks to shape them.
  • n. A gardener’s tool, shaped like a scoop, used in taking up plants, stirring soil etc.
  • n. A tool used for smoothing a mold.
  • v. To apply a subtsance with a trowel.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A mason's tool, used in spreading and dressing mortar, and breaking bricks to shape them.
  • n. A gardener's tool, somewhat like a scoop, used in taking up plants, stirring the earth, etc.
  • n. A tool used for smoothing a mold.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To dress, form, or apply with a trowel: as, troweled stucco.
  • n. A surgical instrument of approximately trowel shape, used to push back protruding parts from the field of operation.
  • n. A tool, generally consisting of a flat long triangular, oval, or oblong blade of iron or steel, fitted with a handle, used by masons, plasterers, and bricklayers for spreading and dressing mortar and plaster, and for cutting bricks, and also by molders for smoothing the surface of the sand or loam composing the mold.
  • n. A gardeners' tool, like a small spade or scoop, used for taking up plants and for other purposes. See figs. k, above.
  • n. A tool used in oil-cloth manufacturing to spread paint and remove what may be superfluous. It is made of steel, is 2 feet long, and very elastic, and has a handle near the broad end.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a small hand tool with a handle and flat metal blade; used for scooping or spreading plaster or similar materials
  • v. use a trowel on; for light garden work or plaster work

Etymologies

Middle English trowell, from Old French truele, from Late Latin truella, diminutive of Latin trua, ladle.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English truel, from Middle French truelle, from Late Latin truella, from Classical Latin trulla, the diminutive of trua 'ladle' (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • We have had nothing from the Liberal Party. All we had was Black Jack McEwen trowelling on the tariff protection while he was kidding farmers he was representing them, and Liberal Party Treasurers sitting up like slugs while being handed speeches by Treasury officials. They could not even read the stuff, much less comprehend it.
    —Treasurer Paul Keating, Australian House of Representatives, 26 May 1988

    September 11, 2009

  • Thanks, Ivan Denisovich.

    November 10, 2008