Definition of tool in English:


Syllabification: tool
Pronunciation: /to͞ol


  • 1A device or implement, especially one held in the hand, used to carry out a particular function: gardening tools
    More example sentences
    • There will be exhibitors offering garden furniture, pots, wickerwork, gardening tools and implements old and new, wrought ironwork and various craft stalls.
    • The divers teamed up in groups of two or three, and each group carried with them cutting tools and lift bags.
    • Implements, tools, and equipment should be cleaned of soil and root debris before moving them to non-infested fields.
  • 1.1A thing used in an occupation or pursuit: computers are an essential tool the ability to write clearly is a tool of the trade
    More example sentences
    • Models and monitored performance are essential management tools.
    • It is not executive vanity, but a tool of the trade.
    • As with any occupation, professionals need the right tools to perform their jobs effectively.
  • 1.2A person used or exploited by another: the beautiful Estella is Miss Havisham’s tool
    More example sentences
    • He would follow instructions and became a tool to be exploited.
    puppet, pawn, creature, cat's paw; minion, lackey, instrument, organ
    informal stooge
  • 1.3 Computing A piece of software that carries out a particular function, typically creating or modifying another program.
    More example sentences
    • The companies are working with open-source compiler developers to create software development tools for programmers.
    • Developers will be offered co-marketing money, free software and developer tools.
    • These tools exploit the file structure of operating systems to recover ‘evidence’ that can be used in court.
  • 2A distinct design in the tooling of a book.
  • 2.1A small stamp or roller used to make a tooled design.
    More example sentences
    • The drawing was removed, and a variety of modeling tools were used to tool the foil in relief.
  • 3 vulgar slang A man’s penis.
  • 3.1A stupid, irritating, or contemptible man: that guy is such a tool
    More example sentences
    • Before you make a complete tool of yourself, though, make sure you know how to spot a fake.
    • Making an utter tool of yourself, at some stage, is almost a right of passage.
    • You're eight months too late for that particular worry, you tool.


Back to top  
  • 1 [with object] (usually be tooled) Impress a design on (leather, especially a leather book cover): volumes bound in green leather and tooled in gold
    More example sentences
    • It's really a beautiful little piece of work, bound in leather that's been tooled with a lovely design of roses and vines.
    • Houdini's diaries took up an entire shelf - about a dozen volumes, each boxed in an expensive leather slipcase, gold tooled - a treasure surely worth a few hundred thousand dollars.
    • Franklin has tooled the design himself: a rectangle within a rectangle within a rectangle of gold, the inner and the middle joined at the corners with floral rolls.
  • 1.1Dress (stone) with a chisel.
    More example sentences
    • Long gone are the tooled finishes from hand-held chisels that could render differences in texture across the face of a stone block, or from one stone to the next.
    work, fashion, shape, cut; ornament, embellish, decorate, chase
  • 2Equip or be equipped with tools for industrial production: [with object]: the factory must be tooled to produce the models [no object]: they were tooling up for production
    More example sentences
    • One of the most disheartening things was to go into that prison and see a massive carpentry shop - fully equipped and fully tooled - empty.
    • A fully tooled factory could turn out several hundred models a week, if necessary.
    • Apparently, they're tooling up for hardware production in May.
  • 3 [no object] informal , chiefly North American Drive or ride in a casual or leisurely manner: tooling around town in a pink Rolls-Royce
    More example sentences
    • The rest of the song was enough on its own, but that line was always good for some weird looks when my friend Charlotte and I were tooling around town screaming along.
    • I haven't driven in well over year - not since I went to Kentucky for Christmas 2000 and tooled around town in my mom's car.
    • But I think it would be fun to have one to tool around town, just about anywhere.



More example sentences
  • This, in turn, fuelled an entire production industry - typesetters, printers, engravers, binders, leather toolers, booksellers, print makers and sellers - to service this new domain of culture.
  • Our staff of highly skilled engineers and toolers surpassed even their own imaginations.
  • Gender is of no difference here, but most toolers are between 20 and 60 years of age.


Old English tōl, from a Germanic base meaning 'prepare'; compare with taw1. The verb dates from the early 19th century.

More definitions of tool

Definition of tool in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day maelstrom
Pronunciation: ˈmeɪlstrəm
a powerful whirlpool in the sea