1a tool or machine with a rotating cutting tip or reciprocating hammer or chisel, used for making holes.
a tool with a rotating tip used by a dentist for cutting away part of a tooth before filling it.
2 [mass noun] instruction or training in military exercises:parade-ground drill
intensive instruction or training in something, typically by means of repeated exercises:tables can be mastered by drill and practice [count noun]:language-learning drills
[count noun] a rehearsal of the procedure to be followed in an emergency:air-raid drills
(the drill) informal the correct or recognized procedure or way of doing something:he didn’t know the drill
3a predatory mollusc that bores into the shells of other molluscs in order to feed on the soft tissue.
Family Muricidae, class Gastropoda: several genera and species, in particular the American oyster drill (Urosalpinx cinerea), which is a serious pest of oyster beds
1produce (a hole) in something by or as if by boring with a drill:drill holes through the tiles for the masonry pins
make a hole in (something) by boring with a drill:a power tool for drilling wood
[no object, with adverbial of direction] make a hole in or through something by using a drill:do not attempt to drill through a joist figurativehis eyes drilled into her
[no object] sink a borehole in order to obtain oil or water:BP has been licensed to drill for oil in the area (as noun drilling)drilling should begin next year
(of a dentist) cut away part of (a tooth) before filling it:I didn’t like having my teeth drilled, but extractions were worse
[with object and adverbial of direction] informal (of a sports player) hit (a shot) hard and in a straight line:he drilled a right-foot volley into the back of the net
2subject (someone) to military training exercises:a sergeant was drilling new recruits
[no object] (of a person) take part in military training exercises:the troops were drilling
instruct (someone) in something by the means of repeated exercises or practice:I reacted instinctively because I had been drilled to do just that
(drill something into) cause (someone) to learn something by repeating it regularly:his mother had drilled into him the need to pay for one’s sins
Computing access data which is in a lower level of a hierarchically structured database:just click on a button and drill down until you find the level of detail you require [as modifier]:a drill-down menu of topics
early 17th century: from Middle Dutch drillen 'bore, turn in a circle'