Share this entry

tool Line breaks: tool

Definition of tool in English:


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 to help perform a job: 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.
1.3 Computing A piece of software that carries out a particular function, typically creating or modifying another program.
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.
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] 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.
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.
2.1 (tool up or be tooled up) British informal Be or become armed, especially for criminal activity: they were tooled up with baseball bats
More example sentences
  • It is not just a case of vandalism - whoever stole them obviously went tooled up.
  • The suppliers of drugs do not have this choice, so they tool up to protect their trade from intruders or competitors.
  • Britain rode out the US depression relatively unscathed, however, others were jockeying for position and tooling up for war.
3 [no object, with adverbial of direction] 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.
drive, bowl, ride, motor, travel
informal spin
4 [with object] Dress (stone) with a chisel.
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.
ornament, embellish, decorate, work, shape, cut, chase, dress, fashion


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



Pronunciation: /ˈtuːlə/
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.

Words that rhyme with tool

Banjul, befool, Boole, boule, boules, boulle, cagoule, cool, drool, fool, ghoul, Joule, mewl, misrule, mule, O'Toole, pool, Poole, pul, pule, Raoul, rule, school, shul, sool, spool, Stamboul, stool, Thule, tomfool, tulle, you'll, yule

Definition of tool in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day coiffeur
Pronunciation: kwäˈfər
a hairdresser