from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A metal tool with a sharp beveled edge, used to cut and shape stone, wood, or metal.
  • intransitive verb To shape or cut with a chisel.
  • intransitive verb To cheat or swindle.
  • intransitive verb To obtain by deception.
  • intransitive verb To use a chisel.
  • intransitive verb To use unethical methods; cheat.
  • intransitive verb To intrude oneself without welcome.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To cut, pare, gouge, or engrave with a chisel: as, to chisel marble.
  • To make by cutting or engraving with a chisel: as, to chisel a statue from stone.
  • Figuratively, to cut close, as in a bargain; gouge; cheat: as, to chisel one out of his share.
  • noun Gravel.
  • noun Bran; coarse flour; the coarser part of bran or flour: generally in the plural.
  • noun A tool consisting of a blade, commonly flat, but sometimes concavoconvex, having a beveled or sloping cutting edge at one extremity and a handle at the other, designed to cut under the impulse of a blow from a mallet, or under pressure of the hand or in a lathe.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A tool with a cutting edge on one end of a metal blade, used in dressing, shaping, or working in timber, stone, metal, etc.; -- usually driven by a mallet or hammer.
  • noun See under Cold, a.
  • transitive verb To cut, pare, gouge, or engrave with a chisel.
  • transitive verb Slang To cut close, as in a bargain; to cheat.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A cutting tool consisting of a slim oblong block of metal with a sharp wedge or bevel formed on one end. It may be provided with a handle at the other end. It is used to remove parts of stone, wood or metal by placing the sharp edge against the material to be cut and pushing or pounding the other end with a hammer, or mallet.
  • verb intransitive To use a chisel.
  • verb transitive To work something with a chisel.
  • verb intransitive (informal) To cheat, to get something by cheating.

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

  • verb carve with a chisel
  • verb engage in deceitful behavior; practice trickery or fraud
  • verb deprive somebody of something by deceit
  • noun an edge tool with a flat steel blade with a cutting edge


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

Middle English, from Old French cisiel, from Vulgar Latin *cīsellus, cutting tool, from diminutive of Latin caesus, past participle of caedere, to cut.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French cisel (French ciseau), from Vulgar Latin *cisellum, from Latin caesellum, from caesus, past participle of caedere ("to cut").


  • Implements for both soil preparation and weed control are collectively considered under the term chisel plow.

    1. Labour productivity and distribution

  • In the narrower sense the term chisel plow is used for deeper soil preparation with tines and superficial tilling with duckfoot, sweep shares, etc. (e.g. bico de pato; section G 2.4.4).

    1. Labour productivity and distribution

  • The word chisel has appeared in 26 New York Times articles in the past year, including on Feb. 7 in the Wheels blog post "Bonhams at the Grand Palais: A Rarified Setting for Rare Metal," by Donald Osborne:

    NYT > Home Page

  • He would only chisel from a widow he might have married.


  • Perhaps then the soft copper chisel is not so poor a tool after all.

    William Golding - Nobel Lecture

  • The chisel is a knife designed to be struck with a mallet, while the saw is a knife shaped with a row of mini-blades.

    Humanity's Unseen Weapons

  • Why must a carving chisel, which is beaten by a wooden cudgel, have a metal ring at the upper handle?

    2. Splitting and Carving Tools

  • The cutting effect of the chisel is achieved by hammering on the head end of the chisel, which is an energy and time consuming operation.

    1. Purpose of chipping

  • Another use for the chisel is the cutting of tins.

    Chapter 4

  • PARING away the waste material with a chisel is the next step, and this is shown at Fig. 68.

    Woodwork Joints How they are Set Out, How Made and Where Used.


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  • "'Did you take the quarter-inch chisel, Delia?'

    'Is that a big chisel, Sam?' she asked innocently.

    'No,' he drawled. 'Not much bigger than a quarter of an inch, if you know what that is.'

    'I think it might be on top of the press, Sam,' she said guiltily.

    'Why the hell women can't put things back where they find them!' he grunted as he got a chair."

    - Frank O'Connor, 'The Cheapjack'.

    September 6, 2008