AskDefine | Define chisel

Dictionary Definition

chisel n : an edge tool with a flat steel blade with a cutting edge


1 engage in deceitful behavior; practice trickery or fraud; "Who's chiseling on the side?" [syn: cheat]
2 deprive somebody of something by deceit; "The con-man beat me out of $50"; "This salesman ripped us off!"; "we were cheated by their clever-sounding scheme"; "They chiseled me out of my money" [syn: cheat, rip off]
3 carve with a chisel; "chisel the marble" [also: chiselling, chiselled]

User Contributed Dictionary



From cisel (modern: ciseau), from *cisellum, from caesellum.



  1. A tool consisting of a slim oblong block of metal which is flattened to a sharp edge at one end and attached to a handle at the other end. It is used mainly to remove parts of stone or wood by placing the sharp edge against the material and pounding the handle with a hammer.


tool consisting of a slim oblong block of metal

See also


  1. To use a chisel.
  2. To work something with a chisel.
    She chiselled a sculpture out of the block of wood.
  3. To cheat, to get something by cheating.

Usage notes

Chiselling and Chiselled are more common in the UK while chiseling and chiseled are more common in the US.


to use a chisel
to work something with a chisel
to cheat

Extensive Definition

A chisel is a tool with a characteristically shaped cutting edge (such that wood chisels have lent part of their name to a particular grind) of blade on its end, for carving and/or cutting a hard material such as wood, stone, or metal. The handle and blade of some types of chisel are made of metal or wood with a sharp edge in it.
In use, the chisel is forced into the material to cut the material. The driving force may be manually applied or applied using a mallet or hammer. In industrial use, a hydraulic ram or falling weight ('trip hammer') drives the chisel into the material to be cut.
A gouge, one type of chisel, is used, particularly in woodworking, woodturning and sculpture, to carve small pieces from the material. Gouges are most often used in creating concave surfaces. A gouge typically has a 'U'-shaped cross-section.


Chisels have a wide variety of uses. Many types of chisels have been devised, each specially suited to its intended use. Different types of chisels may be constructed quite differently, in terms of blade width or length, as well as shape and hardness of blade. They may have wooden handles attached or may be made entirely of one piece of metal.

Woodworking chisels

Hardy chisel

A hardy chisel is a type of hot chisel with a square shank, which is held in place with the cutting edge facing upwards by placing it in an anvil's Hardy hole. The hot workpiece cut is then placed over the hardy, and struck with a hammer. The hammer drives the chisel into the hot metal, allowing it to be snapped off with a pair of tongs.

Stone chisels

Stone chisels are used to carve or cut stone, bricks or concrete slabs. To cut, as opposed to carve, a brick bolster is used; this has a wide, flat blade that is tapped along the cut line to produce a groove, then hit hard in the centre to crack the stone. To increase the force, stone chisels are often hit with club hammers, a heavier type of hammer.

Masonry chisels

Masonry chisels are typically heavy, with a relatively dull head that wedges and breaks, rather than cuts. Normally used as a demolition tool, they may be mounted on a hammer drill, jack hammer, or hammered manually, usually with a heavy hammer of three pounds or more.

Plugging chisel

A Plugging chisel has a tapered edge for cleaning out hardened mortar. The chisel is held with one hand and struck with a hammer. The direction of the taper in the blade determines if the chisel cuts deep or runs shallow along the joint.
chisel in Azerbaijani: İskənə
chisel in Czech: Dláto
chisel in Danish: Stemmejern
chisel in German: Meißel
chisel in Esperanto: Ĉizilo
chisel in Spanish: Cincel
chisel in French: Ciseau à bois
chisel in Italian: Scalpello
chisel in Japanese: 鑿
chisel in Dutch: Beitel
chisel in Norwegian: Stemjern
chisel in Pampanga: Pat
chisel in Polish: Dłuto
chisel in Portuguese: Cinzel
chisel in Russian: Зубило
chisel in Finnish: Taltta
chisel in Swedish: Stämjärn
chisel in Turkish: İskarpela

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

assemble, autolithograph, bamboozle, be a printmaker, beat, beguile of, bilk, block out, bunco, burn, canal, canalize, carve, cast, chamfer, channel, character, chase, cheat, chouse, chouse out of, cog, cog the dice, con, convert, corrugate, cozen, crack, crease, create, crib, cribble, crimp, crosshatch, cultivate, cut, dado, defraud, diddle, dike, ditch, do, do in, do out of, dupe, efform, enchase, engrave, euchre, extract, fashion, figure, finagle, fix, flam, fleece, flimflam, flute, fob, fool, forge, form, formalize, found, frame, fudge, furrow, gash, grave, groove, grow, gull, gully, gyp, harvest, hatch, have, hew, hocus, hocus-pocus, incise, inscribe, insculpture, knead, knock out, lay out, lick into shape, line, lithograph, machine, make prints, mallet, mark, mill, mine, mint, model, modeling clay, mold, mulct, overreach, pack the deal, pare, pigeon, pleat, plow, point, practice fraud upon, print, process, pump, rabbet, raise, rear, refine, rifle, rook, rough out, roughcast, roughhew, rut, scam, score, scrape, scratch, screw, sculp, sculpt, sculpture, sell gold bricks, set, shape, shave, shortchange, slit, smelt, solder, soldering iron, spatula, stack the cards, stamp, stick, sting, stipple, streak, striate, swindle, tailor, take a dive, thermoform, thimblerig, throw a fight, tool, trench, trick, trough, victimize, weld, work, wrinkle
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