- an implement, especially one held in the hand, as a hammer, saw, or file, for performing or facilitating mechanical operations.
- any instrument of manual operation.
- the cutting or machining part of a lathe, planer, drill, or similar machine.
- the machine itself; a machine tool.
- anything used as a means of accomplishing a task or purpose: Education is a tool for success.
- a person manipulated by another for the latter’s own ends; cat’s-paw.
- the design or ornament impressed upon the cover of a book.
- Underworld Slang.
- a pistol or gun.
- a pickpocket.
- Slang: Vulgar. penis.
verb (used with object)
- to work or shape with a tool.
- to work decoratively with a hand tool.
- to ornament (the cover of a book) with a bookbinder’s tool.
- to drive (a vehicle): He tooled the car along the treacherous path.
- to equip with tools or machinery.
verb (used without object)
- to work with a tool.
- to drive or ride in a vehicle: tooling along the freeway.
- tool up, to install machinery designed for performing a particular job: manufacturers tooling up for production.
- an implement, such as a hammer, saw, or spade, that is used by hand
- a power-driven instrument; machine tool
- (in combination)a toolkit
- the cutting part of such an instrument
- any of the instruments used by a bookbinder to impress a design on a book cover
- a design so impressed
- anything used as a means of performing an operation or achieving an endhe used his boss’s absence as a tool for gaining influence
- a person used to perform dishonourable or unpleasant tasks for another
- a necessary medium for or adjunct to one’s professionnumbers are the tools of the mathematician’s trade
- slang another word for penis
- British an underworld slang word for gun
- to work, cut, shape, or form (something) with a tool or tools
- (tr) to decorate (a book cover) with a bookbinder’s tool
- (tr often foll by up) to furnish with tools
- (when intr, often foll by along) to drive (a vehicle) or (of a vehicle) to be driven, esp in a leisurely or casual style
Old English tol “instrument, implement,” from Proto-Germanic *tolan (cf. Old Norse tol), from a verb stem represented by Old English tawian “prepare.” The ending is the instrumental suffix -l (e.g. shovel). Figurative sense of “person used by another for his own ends” is recorded from 1660s. Slang meaning “penis” first recorded 1550s.
“to drive a vehicle,” 1812, probably from tool (n.). The meaning “to work or shape with a tool” is recorded from 1815; that of “equip (a factory) with machine tools” is from 1927. Related: Tooled; tooling.