A metal tool with a sharp beveled edge, used to cut and shape stone, wood, or metal.
v. chis·eled, chis·el·ing, chis·els or chis·elled or chis·el·ling
1. To shape or cut with a chisel.
a. To cheat or swindle.
b. To obtain by deception.
1. To use a chisel.
a. To use unethical methods; cheat: "who's up, who's down and who's chiseling on the side" (James Reston).
b. To intrude oneself without welcome: always tries to chisel in on our conversations.
[Middle English, from Old French cisiel, from Vulgar Latin *cīsellus, cutting tool, from diminutive of Latin caesus, past participle of caedere, to cut; see kaə-id- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(click for a larger image)chisel
left: cold metal chisel with a flat head
top to bottom: cape, round-nose, and diamond-point metal chisel heads
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.