AskDefine | Define whittle

The Collaborative Dictionary

Whittle \Whit"tle\, n. [AS. hw[imac]tel, from hwit white; akin to Icel. hv[imac]till a white bed cover. See White.] (a) A grayish, coarse double blanket worn by countrywomen, in the west of England, over the shoulders, like a cloak or shawl. --C. Kingsley. (b) Same as Whittle shawl, below. [1913 Webster] Whittle shawl, a kind of fine woolen shawl, originally and especially a white one. [1913 Webster]
Whittle \Whit"tle\, n. [OE. thwitel, fr. AS. pw[imac]tan to cut. Cf. Thwittle, Thwaite a piece of ground.] A knife; esp., a pocket, sheath, or clasp knife. "A butcher's whittle." --Dryden. "Rude whittles." -- Macaulay. [1913 Webster] He wore a Sheffield whittle in his hose. --Betterton. [1913 Webster]
Whittle \Whit"tle\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Whittled; p. pr. & vb. n. Whittling.] [1913 Webster]
To pare or cut off the surface of with a small knife; to cut or shape, as a piece of wood held in the hand, with a clasp knife or pocketknife. [1913 Webster]
To edge; to sharpen; to render eager or excited; esp., to excite with liquor; to inebriate. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] "In vino veritas." When men are well whittled, their tongues run at random. --Withals. [1913 Webster]
Whittle \Whit"tle\, v. i. To cut or shape a piece of wood with am small knife; to cut up a piece of wood with a knife. [1913 Webster] Dexterity with a pocketknife is a part of a Nantucket education; but I am inclined to think the propensity is national. Americans must and will whittle. --Willis. [1913 Webster]

Word Net

whittle v : cut small bits or pare shavings from; "whittle a piece of wood" [syn: pare]

Moby Thesaurus

amputate, ax, bisect, blade, butcher, carve, chop, cleave, cold steel, cut, cut away, cut in two, cut off, cutlery, cutter, dagger, dichotomize, dissever, edge tools, excise, fissure, gash, hack, halve, hew, incise, jigsaw, knife, lance, naked steel, pare, pigsticker, point, prune, puncturer, rend, rive, saw, scissor, sever, sharpener, slash, slice, slit, snip, split, steel, sunder, sword, tear, toad sticker



From whittel, an alteration of thwitel, itself from thwiten, from thwitan


  • /ˈwʰɪtəl/
  • Rhymes with: -ɪtəl


  1. a large knife


  1. In the context of "transitive|or|intransitive": To cut or shape wood with a knife.
  2. To reduce or gradually eliminate something (such as a debt).

Derived terms


cut or shape wood with a knife
  • Dutch: kerven, snijden, aanspitsen
reduce or gradually eliminate something
  • Dutch: afknagen, verminderen


Whittle may refer to:
One of several people with the surname Whittle, including:
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1