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pen·cil (pĕnsəl)
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n.
1. A narrow, generally cylindrical implement for writing, drawing, or marking, consisting of a thin rod of graphite, colored wax, or similar substance encased in wood or held in a mechanical holder.
2. Something shaped or used like a pencil, especially a narrow medicated or cosmetic stick: an eyebrow pencil.
3.
a. A style or technique in drawing or delineating.
b. Descriptive skill: "His characters are drawn with a strong pencil" (Henry Hallam).
c. An artist's brush, especially a fine one.
4. Physics A beam of radiant energy in the form of a narrow cone or cylinder.
5. Mathematics A family of geometric objects, such as lines, that have a common property, such as passage through a given line in a given plane.
tr.v. pen·ciled, pen·cil·ing, pen·cils also pen·cilled or pen·cil·ling
1. To write or produce by using a pencil.
2. To mark or color with or as if with a pencil.
Phrasal Verbs:
pencil in
1. To schedule tentatively: penciled in a staff meeting for 3:00.
2. To schedule a tentative appointment with: penciled him in for lunch next Monday.
pencil out
1. To calculate or estimate (projected profits and losses or other figures): penciled out the likely sales for the new product.
2. To appear likely to be of sufficient benefit to justify the projected costs: rejected the proposed merger because it failed to pencil out.

[Middle English pencel, artist's brush, from Old French pincel, peincel, from Vulgar Latin *pēnicellus, alteration of Latin pēnicillus, diminutive of pēniculus; see pes- in the Appendix of Indo-European rootsdiminutive of pēnis, tail, brush; see pes- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

pencil·er, pencil·ler n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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