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

  • n. An implement with cutting edges or a pointed end for boring holes in hard materials, usually by a rotating abrasion or repeated blows; a bit.
  • n. The hand-operated or hand-powered holder for this implement.
  • n. A loud, harsh noise made by or as if by a powered tool of this kind.
  • n. Disciplined, repetitious exercise as a means of teaching and perfecting a skill or procedure.
  • n. A task or exercise for teaching a skill or procedure by repetition: conducted an air-raid drill; a drill for learning the multiplication tables.
  • n. The training of soldiers in marching and the manual of arms.
  • n. Any of various marine gastropod mollusks, chiefly of the genus Urosalpinx, that bore holes into the shells of bivalve mollusks. U. cinera is destructive to oysters.
  • transitive v. To make a hole in (a hard material) with a drill: a bit for drilling masonry.
  • transitive v. To make (a hole) with or as if with a drill: drills holes in trees with its chisellike bill.
  • transitive v. To strike or hit sharply: The batter drilled a single through the infield.
  • transitive v. To instruct thoroughly by repetition in a skill or procedure: drill pupils in grammar.
  • transitive v. To infuse knowledge of or skill in by repetitious instruction. See Synonyms at teach.
  • transitive v. To train (soldiers) in marching and the manual of arms.
  • intransitive v. To make a hole with or as if with a drill.
  • intransitive v. To perform a training exercise.
  • n. A shallow trench or furrow in which seeds are planted.
  • n. A row of planted seeds.
  • n. A machine or implement for planting seeds in holes or furrows.
  • transitive v. To sow (seeds) in rows.
  • transitive v. To plant (a field) in drills.
  • n. Durable cotton or linen twill of varying weights, generally used for work clothes.
  • n. A baboon (Papio leucophaeus) of western Africa, related to and resembling the mandrill.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To create (a hole) by removing material with a drill (tool).
  • v. To practice, especially in a military context.
  • v. To repeat an idea frequently in order to encourage someone to remember it.
  • v. To investigate or examine something in more detail or at a different level
  • v. To cause one's subordinates to drill (practice).
  • v. To hit or kick with a lot of power.
  • n. A tool used to remove material so as to create a hole, typically by plunging a rotating cutting bit into a stationary workpiece.
  • n. The portion of a drilling tool that drives the bit
  • n. An activity done as an exercise or practice (especially a military exercise)
  • n. Any of several molluscs, of the genus Urosalpinx, that drill holes in the shells of other animals.
  • n. An Old World monkey of West Africa, Mandrillus leucophaeus, similar in appearance to the mandrill, but lacking the colorful face.
  • n. A strong, durable cotton fabric with a strong bias (diagonal) in the weave.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An instrument with an edged or pointed end used for making holes in hard substances; strictly, a tool that cuts with its end, by revolving, as in drilling metals, or by a succession of blows, as in drilling stone; also, a drill press.
  • n. The act or exercise of training soldiers in the military art, as in the manual of arms, in the execution of evolutions, and the like; hence, diligent and strict instruction and exercise in the rudiments and methods of any business; a kind or method of military exercises
  • n. Any exercise, physical or mental, enforced with regularity and by constant repetition.
  • n. A marine gastropod, of several species, which kills oysters and other bivalves by drilling holes through the shell. The most destructive kind is Urosalpinx cinerea.
  • n. A small trickling stream; a rill.
  • n.
  • n. An implement for making holes for sowing seed, and sometimes so formed as to contain seeds and drop them into the hole made.
  • n. A light furrow or channel made to put seed into sowing.
  • n. A row of seed sown in a furrow.
  • n. A large African baboon (Cynocephalus leucophæus).
  • n. Same as drilling.
  • intransitive v. To practice an exercise or exercises; to train one's self.
  • intransitive v. To trickle.
  • intransitive v. To sow in drills.
  • transitive v. To pierce or bore with a drill, or a with a drill; to perforate
  • transitive v. To train in the military art; to exercise diligently, as soldiers, in military evolutions and exercises; hence, to instruct thoroughly in the rudiments of any art or branch of knowledge; to discipline.
  • transitive v. To cause to flow in drills or rills or by trickling; to drain by trickling.
  • transitive v. To sow, as seeds, by dribbling them along a furrow or in a row, like a trickling rill of water.
  • transitive v. To entice; to allure from step; to decoy; -- with on.
  • transitive v. To cause to slip or waste away by degrees.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To pierce or make a hole in with a drill or a similar tool, or as if with a drill.
  • To make with a drill: as, to drill a hole.
  • 3 To wear away or waste slowly.
  • To instruct and exercise in military tactics and the use of arms; hence, to train in anything with the practical thoroughness characteristic of military training.
  • On American railroads, to shift (cars or locomotives) about, or run them back and forth, at a terminus or station, in order to get them into the desired position.
  • 6 To draw on; entice; decoy.
  • [⟨ drill, n., 4.] In agri.: To sow in rows, drills, or channels: as, to drill wheat.
  • To sow with seed in drills: as, the field was drilled, not sown broadcast.
  • To go through exercises in military tactics.
  • To sow seed in drills.
  • To trill; trickle; flow gently.
  • To drain; draw off in drains or streams: as, water drilled through a boggy soil.
  • n. A tool for boring holes in metal, stone, or other hard substance; specifically, a steel cutting-tool fixed to a drill-stock, bow-lathe, or drilling-machine. See cuts under bow-drill, brace-drill, and cramp-drill.
  • n. In mining, a borer: the more common term in the United States.
  • n. In agriculture, a machine for planting seeds, as of grasses, wheat, oats, corn, etc., by dropping them in rows and covering them with earth.
  • n. A row of seeds deposited in the earth.
  • n. The trench or channel in which the seeds are deposited.
  • n. A shell-fish which is destructive to oyster-beds by boring into the shells of young oysters.
  • n. The act of training soldiers in military tactics; hence, in general, the act of teaching by repeated exercises.
  • n. In dentistry, a small iron drill into the end of which is set a small piece of bort.
  • n. A screw-stock drill in which, by means of bevel-pinions, the motion of the screw-stock is transmitted to a drill at right angles to the stock. Also called Archimedean drill, screw-Stock drill.
  • n. A sip, as of water.
  • n. A rill.
  • n. A trade-name for drilling: often used in the plural.
  • n. In zoology, a baboon.
  • n. Specifically, Mormon or Cynocephalus leucophæus, a baboon of western Africa, closely related to the mandrill, but smaller, with a black visage, and a stumpy erect tail scarcely two inches long.
  • n. An apparatus used with a boring-tool which cuts on its end and is fed into the hole by a gimlet point, or with a tool such as is ordinarily turned by hand.

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

  • v. learn by repetition
  • v. teach by repetition
  • n. similar to the mandrill but smaller and less brightly colored
  • n. (military) the training of soldiers to march (as in ceremonial parades) or to perform the manual of arms
  • n. a tool with a sharp point and cutting edges for making holes in hard materials (usually rotating rapidly or by repeated blows)
  • n. systematic training by multiple repetitions
  • v. undergo military training or do military exercises
  • v. train in the military, e.g., in the use of weapons
  • v. make a hole, especially with a pointed power or hand tool


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

Obsolete Dutch dril, from drillen, to bore, from Middle Dutch drillen; see terə-1 in Indo-European roots.
Perhaps from drill, rill, from Middle English drille, sip.
Short for drilling, alteration of German Drillich, from Middle High German drilich, threefold, fabric woven with three threads, from Old High German drilīh, alteration (influenced by drī, three, and -līh, adj. suff.) of Latin trilīx, triple-twilled; see trellis.
Possibly of West African origin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle Dutch drillen ("bore, move in a circle")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Abbreviation of drilling.



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  • To drill a man on, to decoy or flatter a man into any thing; also to amuse with delays. --old term from the south of England cited in Grose's A Provincial Dictionary, 1787.

    You get the drill.

    May 5, 2011