Main definitions of drill in English

: drill1drill2drill3drill4

drill1

noun

  • 1A tool or machine with a rotating cutting tip or reciprocating hammer or chisel, used for making holes.

    • ‘A workman below was using a pneumatic drill to break up some concrete which had already been laid.’
    • ‘Use an electric drill to punch holes of various sizes in vegetable and coffee cans.’
    • ‘Though all the passengers may be very careful not to damage the hull, if one of them takes a drill and begins drilling holes under his own seat, the ship will sink, and all will drown.’
    • ‘Mothers kept a grim vigil yesterday while workers with power drills bored through slabs of concrete and fallen masonry at a high school in a desperate search for 15 trapped schoolchildren.’
    • ‘A mammoth 126-tonne drill continuously sheers salt away from the rock face and on to a conveyor belt to be taken for crushing.’
    • ‘Most of the project requires basic wood-working tools - a circular saw, a saber saw, an electric drill, a hammer, and a nail set.’
    • ‘Two drills and other hand tools were taken from a white transit van parked in Layer Road, Abberton.’
    • ‘Modern tunnels are usually round because drills make round holes, but generally, those dug with spades have arched roofs because arches are strong and are better for holding up rock.’
    • ‘They took lawn mowers, strimmers, chainsaws, as well as drills and tools totalling about £3,000.’
    • ‘She could hear the beat of a diesel engine and bursts from a pneumatic drill.’
    • ‘It's funny, my grandfather's tools were objects that have been around in one form or another for hundreds if not thousands of years, like hammers, drills, screwdrivers and nails.’
    • ‘If you choose terracotta or concrete pots without drainage holes, using a drill that has a special masonry bit works well.’
    • ‘Normally, firing an assault rifle was like holding a pneumatic drill.’
    • ‘The clatter of hammers, drills and sanders drown out the voices of the workers.’
    • ‘No tools more complicated than a handsaw, drill, hammer, and screwdriver are needed.’
    • ‘A complete system often can be installed using an electric drill and other ordinary hand tools.’
    • ‘The solution was then mixed thoroughly into the liquid supplement using a cordless electric drill with a paint stirring attachment.’
    • ‘The drills were boring huge holes in the cavern walls, and hundreds of thousands of the glistening jewels were spilling out into several mine carts.’
    • ‘I had my cordless drill with attachments, flat tip screwdriver and a claw hammer.’
    • ‘Doctors say his symptoms are typical of the hand-arm vibration syndrome seen in industrial settings when people repeatedly use tools such as chain saws and drills.’
    drilling tool, boring tool, rotary tool, auger, gimlet, awl, bradawl
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A tool with a rotating tip used by a dentist for cutting away part of a tooth before filling it.
      • ‘My dad's a dentist who uses drills, explorers and sucking tubes.’
      • ‘It's difficult to be in the dentist's chair, hearing the whine of the drill, and be grateful for everything that teeth do for you.’
      • ‘Some of the surrounding bone can then be removed with a drill to lift the tooth out in one piece.’
      • ‘Your dentist will remove any decay or old filling from the tooth with a drill.’
      • ‘A similar thing happens to many humans - as soon as you detect the excruciating high-pitched whine of a dentist's drill, it sets your teeth on edge.’
      • ‘A cup of tea a day will keep the dentist's drill away.’
      • ‘Special mineral toothpaste then helps the tooth to repair itself without the need for fillings and, more crucially, the dentist's drill.’
      • ‘Laser technology, too, is developing and in time may replace the drill in restorative dentistry.’
      • ‘Then your dentist removes any decay using a drill.’
  • 2[mass noun] Instruction or training in military exercises:

    ‘parade-ground drill’
    • ‘The climax shows all the friends in military uniforms doing drill.’
    • ‘She recalls once, when Gary was only 5, how she came home from weekend drill and a friend remarked on her uniform.’
    • ‘Reorganisation, forays, drill and discipline marked the ensuing winter months.’
    • ‘The major shook our hands as if relieved from the duty of explaining drill and ceremony and invited us to stand in the detail formation.’
    • ‘Boys and young men with pretend guns were being given military drill and taught blood-curdling, screamed chants.’
    • ‘He sought to use military drill and discipline for the religious and moral improvement of the boys.’
    • ‘My classmates at West Point were matched with one another so that, aside from classes and ranks for drill or parade, whites and blacks were seldom in close contact.’
    • ‘As a soldier-worker he has drill, inspections, and guard duty, and does work such as road building and dredging.’
    • ‘Military drill and discipline, as well as seamanship are still part of the book.’
    • ‘They disdain combat re-enactment, opting instead to show authentic training skills, precision marching and parade ground drill, to Latin commands.’
    • ‘Instead, parade ground drill became a means of teaching soldiers about the value of organized, unitary action.’
    • ‘Further training included briefings, company drill and the opportunity for the volunteers to walk through the period encampment and talk to the re-enactors.’
    • ‘The perfection of the troops' training was revealed when a display of parade-ground drill helped to extricate the army from a trap in the Balkan mountains.’
    • ‘The hours of perfecting drill and ceremony and sitting in large lecture-style classes have been slashed.’
    • ‘This alerts us to the idea that military drill embodies a number of values.’
    • ‘We marched outside after being taught basic military drill.’
    • ‘Training of farmer militiamen involved mainly military drill and volley fire, often on the village green or nearby field.’
    • ‘Observers of the operation were awed by its precision and discipline, which some likened to military drill.’
    • ‘Each team was also assessed on drill, dress and bearing for the Regimental Sergeant Major-Army trophy, won by the SA team.’
    • ‘Every Monday night, I put on my uniform and head for reserve drill.’
    training, instruction, coaching, teaching, grounding
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 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’
      • ‘The drill can be practiced daily, especially early in the season.’
      • ‘After two hours of repeating the same drill over and over again, it was time for riding.’
      • ‘Athletes practice techniques, run through drills, and even do a little weight training in order to stay at the tops of their games.’
      • ‘Both versions of this drill will help you develop excellent control and concentration as well as just getting loosened up.’
      • ‘And Coach Mackie does every drill and exercise with his players, not because he has to, but because that's the way he has always done it.’
      • ‘The basketball coach or the music teacher needs no convincing regarding the value of drill and practice on fundamental skills.’
      • ‘This drill is designed to develop leg strength.’
      • ‘Within an eclectic array of language activities, drills and other such exercises have their place.’
      • ‘I use this drill to practice staying behind the ball.’
      • ‘Wearing full pads during one of the drills, he ran forward to mow over the biggest of the three blockers.’
      • ‘Thus, problem solving and analysis replace drill and practice, and calculators replace paper-and-pencil computation.’
      • ‘In this mode, the computer can be used to teach the learner through tutorials, drill and practice, games, simulations or a combination of any of these strategies.’
      • ‘Once these two-handed exercise drills are mastered, the athlete is progressed to one-handed drills.’
      • ‘For example, a soccer player may return to the field and practice ball-handling skills and passing drills.’
      • ‘The players then took the court for agility and sprinting drills, followed by a vertical leap measurement.’
      • ‘A problem-solving approach was effective with another student who had problems with math drill and practice.’
      • ‘Do 20 repetitions of this drill on your left leg and then repeat it on your right leg.’
      • ‘By repeating this drill, the swimmer should be encouraged to complete the second kick in order to generate enough power to recover the arms.’
      • ‘We ran lateral agility drills like linebackers, over and around a line of duffel bags.’
      • ‘Practice this drill on skates and then on the ski slopes.’
    2. 2.2[count noun] A rehearsal of the procedure to be followed in an emergency:
      ‘air-raid drills’
      • ‘We do do emergency drills periodically throughout the year.’
      • ‘The residents of the complex, which has adequate fire security systems, practise mock fire drills every week.’
      • ‘In a mock evacuation drill, an alarm goes off on receipt of information of fire in the terminal building.’
      • ‘During Air Raid drills school children were sheltered in the vast cellars beneath cotton mills.’
      • ‘The Daily Star newspaper reported that most factories do not conduct the required monthly evacuation drills.’
      • ‘There should be periodic drills to ensure that employees know how to respond to a fire and use the equipment properly.’
      • ‘I remember the air raid drills held in school, the ones where a siren would wail and the teachers would tell us to get down on the floor, under our desks.’
      • ‘Unlike a real emergency, drills can be fun, but they are also stressful.’
      • ‘Managers said they were looking at reducing stocks of hazardous chemicals, rehearsing emergency drills and having extra staff safety briefings.’
      • ‘Many staff members said they learned a great deal from the drill and thought it should be repeated.’
      • ‘At the conclusion of each drill, staff members should cooperatively critique the drill.’
      • ‘Planning for the drill required coordination among many individuals.’
      • ‘It took time for the staff members to realize that the drill was an educational tool to improve the department's knowledge of fire safety.’
      • ‘Although disaster drills do provide some insight into the weaknesses of a disaster plan, disaster planning remains largely theoretical.’
      • ‘The drill was designed to involve as many staff members as possible using hands-on role play in different situations involving simulated fires.’
      • ‘Our kids had been rushed out of school in an emergency drill.’
      • ‘How would the mock drills be implemented and when?’
      • ‘Generally, there is an emergency plan, and fire drills are practiced on a regular basis.’
      • ‘The pilot also demonstrated the ability to land a damaged aircraft during emergency landing drills.’
      • ‘A mock fire drill was central to the plan and was scheduled one week after the in-service program.’
    3. 2.3the drillinformal The correct or recognized procedure or way of doing something:
      ‘he didn't know the drill’
      • ‘I'm sure you all know the drill by now.’
      • ‘The two journalists had viewed successful shuttle landings, so they knew the drill.’
      • ‘No words passed between them; all four of them knew the drill.’
      • ‘Friction causes inflammation, so you know the drill: rest, ice and lower your seat a notch.’
      • ‘You know the drill - rounds one through three on Saturday, and four through seven on Sunday.’
      • ‘Everybody who has ever worked Christmas in a newsroom knows the drill: there are certain standard news stories that run every year.’
      • ‘I was well aware of the drill here, that is, that a bribe was expected to process the papers.’
      • ‘Knowing the drill, Nick talked to people who contacted him and refrained from sending out any press releases.’
      procedure, routine, practice, pattern, regimen, programme, schedule, method, system, custom, order
      View synonyms
  • 3A predatory mollusc that bores into the shells of other molluscs in order to feed on the soft tissue.

    • ‘It must still run a gauntlet of periwinkles, oyster drills, and mud and basket snails, most of which leave egg masses that cover any undeveloped real estate on the shell.’
    • ‘Oyster drills feed on oysters by drilling a hole directly through the oyster's shell.’
    • ‘The drill is a common predator of the bivalves here in the reserve.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Produce (a hole) in something by or as if by boring with a drill:

    ‘drill holes through the tiles for the masonry pins’
    • ‘The preferred location will be somewhere near the battery in the engine compartment and you'll need to drill mounting holes for attaching the transformer.’
    • ‘His feet covered with mud, he smoothes the sides of the wall and uses a stick to drill holes through the top, pushing the straw within the mixture through to the layers underneath.’
    • ‘You need to drill a hole clean through the block.’
    • ‘He told me a story about how when he turns up at some houses to install satellite television the owners are shocked and appalled to find out that as part of the process he will actually be drilling holes in the wall.’
    • ‘Engineers had managed to drill a hole beneath the river, but could not pass the 14-inch pipe through it.’
    • ‘Divers descended into the water yesterday in a special bell supplied by the Norwegian diving support ship Mayo and began work to mark sections of the hull where holes will be drilled to attach cables to lift the vessel.’
    • ‘A private concrete boring firm was brought in and they drilled a hole big enough for the child to crawl out.’
    • ‘He measures the distance between the hooks, and using that same measurement, drills holes and screws two hooks into the soffit on his house.’
    • ‘Construction work - even drilling a hole - can only be done in the summer, when the neighbors are in the Hamptons.’
    • ‘The cable can be passed through a hole drilled in the wall, in a door or window frame.’
    • ‘The specialist drills holes in hidden areas, sprays in the paste, and plugs the holes.’
    • ‘A bogus workman called at six homes in Blackburn claiming to have been sent from a housing association to drill a hole for a cable so a second workman could install an intercom later.’
    • ‘They slashed trailer tyres, drilled holes through the hulls of boats and ruined the expensive protective covers.’
    • ‘He gained access to the apartment by drilling a hole in the door lock before replacing it with a new one.’
    • ‘First they drill a hole most of the way through, and then they use a rubber mallet to crack open the pipe without making a spark.’
    • ‘Holes will be drilled in the walls to enable injection, and this may leave some apparent patching, but the energy savings should be appreciable.’
    • ‘Each hole that a looter drills not only drains or spills thousands of gallons, it can cause the whole system to shut down for several days.’
    • ‘Mr Davies said workers had been drilling a hole for a lamp post when the machinery struck the pipe.’
    • ‘This will be used to drill holes in the side of the trawler, which has been securely fastened by ropes, and pump out the oil to be taken away by tankers.’
    • ‘Paul and I spent the afternoon putting up the weather station in the garden, having asked next door if we could drill holes in their fence posts.’
    1. 1.1 Make a hole in (something) by boring with a drill:
      ‘a power tool for drilling wood’
      • ‘Remove the bracket, drill the wall as necessary and fix the bracket in position using the appropriate wall plugs and screws.’
      • ‘Once I'd marked and drilled the wood I realised that they weren't screws, they were bolts.’
      • ‘The concrete is drilled and resin is applied to the surface of the concrete.’
      • ‘Drilling can be done with many of the same tools you use for drilling wood or metal, including twist drills, brad point drill bits, spade bits or a hole saw with a pilot bit.’
    2. 1.2[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’
      figurative ‘his eyes drilled into her’
      • ‘The fibreboard walls contain 40 percent blue asbestos, and he has drilled into them, exposing the deadly fibres.’
      • ‘Then the next-door neighbour starts drilling into the wall.’
      • ‘To anchor his hoops to the ground, he drills through the rails at about a 30-degree outward angle.’
      • ‘The lander will return close-up pictures of the comet's nucleus, drill into the dark organic crust, and sample the primordial ices and gases.’
      • ‘More advanced iceberg miners drill deep into the iceberg to get below more recent layers that are contaminated by the fallout of industrial chemicals.’
      • ‘Mike Robins lay awake on the operating table as a surgeon drilled into his skull.’
      • ‘In the end the camera showed that there was another sealed door behind the one they had drilled through.’
      • ‘No, you don't have to drill through walls, and it's relatively fast.’
      • ‘It does not rot, splinter or fade - it can be drilled, sawn, nailed and screwed and can be turned into anything from garden furniture to railings and fences.’
      • ‘They were going to drill down into the ice pack and measure the accretion of ice year by year.’
      • ‘Mark your drill bit with a ‘flag’ of masking tape to ensure you don't drill too deeply.’
      • ‘I was walking down the halls with my head ducked silently cussing out every pair of eyes I felt drilling into my back.’
      • ‘Engineers will this week drill through solid rock to link Glasgow's two reservoirs with Scottish Water's new £120m treatment plant at Milngavie.’
      • ‘Over a period of weeks there, he was on hand as workers drilled through concrete believed to have been treated with asbestos while laying power lines.’
      • ‘They also drilled into the asbestos ceilings in the kitchen and bathroom.’
      • ‘Certain crystals called zircons, obtained from drilling into very deep granites, contain uranium which has partly decayed into lead.’
      • ‘Katherine stopped walking and Sammy held her breath, hoping against all hopes, drilling her eyes into the back of Vincent's mother.’
      • ‘Scientists said this week they had drilled into the lower section of Earth's crust for the first time and were poised to break through to the mantle in coming years.’
      bore a hole in, make a hole in, cut a hole in, drill a hole in
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3[no object] Sink a borehole in order to obtain oil or water:
      ‘BP has been licensed to drill for oil in the area’
      ‘drilling should begin next year’
      • ‘If you consume one less barrel of oil, that's one less barrel you need to drill for.’
      • ‘Well, the Senate today narrowly approved a plan to drill for oil in Alaska's arctic national wildlife refuge.’
      • ‘It has provided training and workshops for hygiene and sanitation, latrine construction, borehole drilling, pump repair and operation and maintenance of pumps.’
      • ‘There's been drilling on public lands in this country for a very, very long time.’
      • ‘He plans to drill for water and sell it by pipeline to the city of Dallas.’
      • ‘He did not win permission to drill for oil and natural gas in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.’
      • ‘High prices have sparked a new investor oil rush and the winners on stock markets have been many energy exploration companies which have advanced plans to drill for new reserves.’
      • ‘The story goes that around the turn of the century, Tom cursed the fact that every time he drilled for water for his livestock, up came oil, too.’
      • ‘Nationwide, the number of rigs drilling for natural gas is up 57 % in the past year.’
      • ‘And we're going to have to drill for some new sources, not just overseas, but here in the U.S.’
      • ‘He added that the site, off Wheatley Hall Road, had been deemed a site of scientific interest, therefore any plans to drill for gas would be contrary to the Doncaster unitary development plan.’
      • ‘The noisiest fight will swirl around proposals to drill in federal wilderness.’
      • ‘If oil prices plummet, the company can choose to not exercise its option and thus not drill for oil.’
      • ‘Send a petition to your senators urging them to oppose drilling in the Arctic refuge.’
      • ‘Ranchers and environmentalists are again coming together to fight a proposal to drill for oil and gas in southern Alberta, this time near the protected Whaleback region.’
      • ‘An energy company's plans to drill for oil and natural gas on the North York Moors has split the local community.’
      • ‘Every year, the Fund gives every Alaska citizen an equal slice of revenues from oil drilling on state lands.’
      • ‘The ship was drilling off the coast of Guatemala when it unexpectedly penetrated a methane hydrate deposit.’
      • ‘Both sides in the fighting accused the other of having curried the favour and financial backing of multinational oil companies that drill for crude nearby.’
      • ‘Today there are 767 rigs drilling for natural gas in the US.’
    4. 1.4 (of a dentist) cut away part of (a tooth) before filling it:
      ‘I didn't like having my teeth drilled, but extractions were worse’
      • ‘Unlike today, patients didn't receive a pain-numbing injection before they had their teeth drilled.’
      • ‘Apart from the obvious downside of having your teeth drilled, the potential damage to your bank balance can cause equal, if not greater, pain.’
      • ‘I think of the Marathon Man scene where the dentist drills Dustin Hoffman's teeth without an anesthetic.’
      • ‘Voluntarily subjecting yourself to it is about as plausible as asking to have your good teeth drilled.’
      • ‘They find hearing talk-radio - left, right or center - akin to having a tooth drilled.’
      • ‘My wisdom tooth is freshly drilled and filled, and it feels great to have had it sorted.’
      • ‘Would you rather have your teeth drilled by a dentist than make or follow a list?’
      • ‘We are trained to sit still, so we can write contract proposals, get our teeth drilled, or listen to a sermon.’
      • ‘Once, my daughter was in the process of having her tooth drilled when the power went off.’
      • ‘The study tested for micro-organisms in the devices used to wash out patients' mouths and remove debris after their teeth have been drilled or cleaned.’
      • ‘Local anaesthetic was a blessing for children who had had to put up with the pain of having their teeth drilled.’
      • ‘You have a toothache, but there is no dentist on-board - one of your crewmates will have to drill and fill the tooth.’
      • ‘After having your teeth drilled, dentists advise their patients to wait a few hours before eating ice cream, having school photos taken, or writing screenplays.’
      • ‘But next time your dentist needs to drill your teeth are you going to decline the anaesthetic and ask for an arnica tablet instead?’
    5. 1.5informal [with object and adverbial of direction] (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’
      • ‘The left-back drilled home a free-kick from the edge of the area following a disputed foul.’
      • ‘Hamilton then drilled a low ball across goal which on-loan Rangers defender McLean stuck past Gordon with aplomb.’
      • ‘But Thomson drilled the ball at home keeper Stuart Coburn when it was easier to score.’
      • ‘He drilled a 25 yard shot that skimmed the bar.’
      • ‘It was taken by Heffernan who drilled the ball across goal where it was turned into his own net by Gary Sliney.’
      • ‘On 22 minutes, Paul Walker's pace helped him drill a low ball in from the right of the box.’
      • ‘He was on the right-side of the box to drill the ball past Robinson.’
      • ‘He drilled a low shot straight into the arms of Howard in the United goal.’
      • ‘The England man drilled a shot wide.’
      • ‘This time the striker drilled the ball superbly with a curling free kick from 25 yards around the wall and low into the net.’
      • ‘Thus galvanised, the home side levelled in 58 minutes when Stephen Whalen drilled a powerful shot low into the keeper's far corner.’
      • ‘He went crazy in the third quarter, drilling five or six shots in a row from all over the court, blowing the game wide open.’
      • ‘Winters forced McEwan to save when he drilled the ball towards the top corner from Burke's pass.’
      • ‘From the resulting penalty, he drilled the ball to the net for a 3-7 to 0-11 lead.’
      • ‘The pass was duly delivered and then the winger drilled his shot wide.’
      • ‘Gormley took it and drilled the ball low into the bottom corner.’
      • ‘He drilled a right-foot shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards.’
      • ‘Nolan drilled the ball in the back of the net on 17 minutes and threw up his arms in celebration before realising the official had stopped play.’
      • ‘But their pressure eventually told when Martin Hickey drilled the ball to the net.’
      • ‘He drilled an unstoppable ball past the defensive wall.’
  • 2Subject (someone) to military training exercises:

    ‘a sergeant was drilling new recruits’
    • ‘For children there will be face painting, paintball and the chance to try on national service uniforms and be drilled by a humorous sergeant major re-enactor.’
    • ‘A Royal New Zealand Air Force sergeant had us lined up on the sea front's Marine Parade and drilled us for a few minutes.’
    • ‘The former Gulf war tank commander involved in the training, adds Wilson, is there to ensure activities are carried out safely - not to drill the troops.’
    • ‘There was neither time nor resources to drill such soldiers in elaborate tactics and discipline, and for the most part their function made this unnecessary.’
    • ‘This training was underpinned by punitive disciplinary codes; troops were drilled, flogged, and caned into being more afraid of their officers than they were of the enemy.’
    • ‘I ask Johnson if he's really serious when he says these women are as tough as many of the soldiers he's drilled.’
    • ‘Thus, the soldiers were drilled and dressed for the effect that it had on them.’
    • ‘Unlike the Boys' Brigade, he did not believe in drilling boys as it destroyed individuality and dulled enthusiasm.’
    • ‘Despite food shortages, more and more new troops are drilled and lectured by the commanders.’
    train, instruct, coach, teach, ground, inculcate, discipline, exercise, make fit, rehearse, put someone through their paces
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1[no object] (of a person) take part in military training exercises:
      ‘the troops were drilling’
      • ‘There are still less than 350 of us including officers and when we are not patrolling, we are drilling ceaselessly both on foot and on horse.’
      • ‘Even now the Guard was drilling in the courtyard below, and a delegation of regiments from the army was due to arrive tomorrow.’
      • ‘They pose in front of tents and barracks or drill on the fields and open areas.’
      • ‘If selected for the program, you do not drill or wear a uniform while you complete your undergraduate degree.’
      • ‘I watched the Citadel guard drilling in the exercise hall.’
      • ‘They made them drill and drill until each exercise was preformed in unison and with military precision.’
      • ‘‘Just get the work done soldier,’ retorted Alex as he continued drilling.’
      • ‘Soldiers drilled tirelessly, many sporting staves and lances, and many more sporting what just looked like slim, polished wood and metal.’
    2. 2.2 Instruct (someone) in something by the means of repeated exercises or practice:
      ‘I reacted instinctively because I had been drilled to do just that’
      • ‘Putin said on Saturday that a planned joint exercise of the Russian and Italian navies next year will drill sailors in carrying out rescue operations.’
      • ‘Point guards need to be constantly drilled in this facet of the game.’
      • ‘Last year the former champions, spent most part of the season without a coach and were drilled by senior players and some willing club members.’
      • ‘During instrument training, you were constantly drilled to ignore the physical sensations of flight and trust the instruments.’
      • ‘Like many other children, I was drilled at a tender age never to eat food from other homes or accept gifts of food from strangers.’
      • ‘Young will later thank God his firearms instructors drilled him intensively in weak hand only shooting.’
      • ‘He went to Roumania where his autocratic uncle drilled him in politics and duty.’
      • ‘Father Norris had sat me on his verandah once a week and drilled me in the Latin responses.’
      • ‘He was yesterday morning spotted at the grounds drilling the team.’
      • ‘She had been drilling her on military tactics and shipboard systems for the past few days, trying to give her a good grounding in both.’
      • ‘School was rough for the past month, with teachers drilling us on our college application.’
      • ‘Also, her older sister drilled her mercilessly every day in martial arts, saying that both of them had gotten shamefully out of shape and needed practice.’
      • ‘South Africa's rugby developmental side coach had offered to assist drilling the team before the games.’
      • ‘You will find that the mere fact that you will write something down will make you more alert to it - that's half the reason you were drilled to take notes in school.’
      • ‘As kids we were drilled constantly in the chore of passing skills.’
      • ‘If you take him, you had better be very confident that your coaching staff will be willing to work with the kid in practice and drill him every day.’
      • ‘The coach has once again been making sure that players are well drilled in his own specialist subject, going into contact with the correct body position.’
      • ‘Liam drilled me everyday after our chores were done.’
    3. 2.3drill 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’
      • ‘It may have been drilled into me, and it may not be how I'd naturally deal with things, but it's the way I've grown up dealing with situations.’
      • ‘Shaylee forgot all the rules that had been drilled in to her head for twelve years, ever since she turned six, and pulled Shawn along behind her as she ran down the path.’
      • ‘To Green's mind, this approach is more likely to teach about our current mediated experience of the world than to drill historical facts into young minds.’
      • ‘These things had been drilled into him ever since he was three.’
      • ‘It was no use, he could not forget about what his mother had drilled into him repetitively when he was a boy.’
      • ‘I screamed, throwing my fists into the wooden pillar, forgetting every notion of ladylike behavior that had been drilled into my head as a child.’
      • ‘That'd been drilled into his brain years ago and now nothing else revolved in him but hatred, hatred, hatred, three thousand times a minute.’
      • ‘Finding ‘a good job and doing well in it’ was what parents and teachers always drill into the heads of children.’
      • ‘That lesson was drilled into the hapless Galway champions yesterday by a supremely drilled Birr side.’
      • ‘My Auntie Ruth drilled into me, at a very early age, never, ever to open the door to anybody I didn't know.’
      • ‘Accordingly, the teacher generally chose a short easy book and for the twelve months prior to inspection drilled each page into the pupils until most of them had memorised the whole work.’
      • ‘My mother had drilled it into me that they were snobs.’
      • ‘His will to win is unbelievable and that is something which he has drilled into us.’
      • ‘He is still trying to drill the notion into the heads of his partners.’
      instil, hammer, drive, drum, din, bang, knock, implant, ingrain
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • this is not a drill (or test)

    • informal Used to draw attention to a piece of information that is being shared:

      ‘Burger King now delivers! This is not a drill!’

Phrasal Verbs

  • drill down

    • 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’
      • ‘Upon visiting the home page, the user types in the name of the site, rather than drilling down a hierarchy of categorized links.’
      • ‘You can also drill down by categories or conduct an advanced search.’
      • ‘If you're looking for specific facts, you're best off drilling down directly with a search engine such as Google.’
      • ‘If you feel, however, that the e-mail might be legit, log in to your account using the company's Web site and drill down to the personal account information page yourself.’
      • ‘The reporting interface is done well, and it allows you to drill down to various levels of detail.’

Origin

Early 17th century: from Middle Dutch drillen bore, turn in a circle.

Pronunciation:

drill

/drɪl/

Main definitions of drill in English

: drill1drill2drill3drill4

drill2

noun

  • 1A machine which makes small furrows, sows seed in them, and then covers the seed with earth.

    • ‘In order to sow the seed, you could use a grain drill.’
    • ‘The selection of medium or small seed when using a grain drill will improve metering and stand uniformity.’
    • ‘Grass drills can be calibrated to meter different types of seeds and seeding rates.’
    • ‘Others operated the plows, seed drills, binders, and other implements hitched behind the engines and tractors.’
    • ‘The fine straight lines radiating outward are remnants of the little furrows left by a seed drill or an air seeder.’
    • ‘Adjust the drills to place the seed one-quarter of an inch deep.’
    • ‘The floater or air seeder then spreads seed much faster than a drill.’
    • ‘However, many producers in Nebraska don't own a drill and use their corn planter to plant soybeans after the corn is planted.’
    • ‘All planters, drills and air seeders need to be cleaned out.’
    • ‘Seeding with a disc drill in a loose seedbed almost guarantees disaster and should probably be delayed until there is moisture.’
    • ‘The seed can be broadcast and harrowed, lightly disked, or seeded with a grain drill.’
    • ‘Three legumes were seeded in late February 1995 with a no-till drill.’
    • ‘If they aren't too terrible, you might be able to reseed them with the use of a no-till drill or pasture renovator.’
    • ‘Deep tillage or applying anhydrous ammonia with knives can dry out the soil, so it could be impossible to place the seed in firm moist soil, even with a hoe drill.’
    • ‘We could spend a lot of time talking about precision adjustments for plows, tillage implements, grain drills, and combines.’
    • ‘They also wonder if they should use a planter or a drill to plant these crops.’
    • ‘Many European farmers put the drill behind a harrow with a basket roller to avoid this stand loss.’
    • ‘You might also consider getting a no-till drill and direct seeding the hay into the field.’
    • ‘Hoe drills with wider row spacing are preferred under dry conditions because they can build a bigger furrow and plant deeper.’
    • ‘Both wheat and soybeans can be planted with the same drill.’
    1. 1.1 A small furrow made by a drill:
      ‘sprinkle the seeds along a four foot drill’
      • ‘If it is very wet and you must sow, add some fine sand to the base of the drill.’
      • ‘Choose a sheltered, sunny spot with a fertile, well-drained soil and sow the seeds in 1in-deep drills.’
      • ‘Select an easy-to-grow variety, such as ‘Joi Choi’, and sow the seeds in ½ in-deep drills.’
      • ‘In the early days of the industry, that aspect was quite labour intensive as the seed was sown by hand into fertilized drills.’
      • ‘These last few days they are blessed with the fine weather which dried out the drills and ridges and left the soil fine and easy to work.’
      • ‘Parsnips are not available as seedlings in garden centres, so sow seeds directly into drills in the garden bed according to the instructions on the packet.’
    2. 1.2 A row of plants sown in a drill:
      ‘drills of lettuces’
      • ‘We simply do not have the space for well-organised drills of vegetables that lead to a wicker gate opening out onto a woodland meadow.’
      • ‘Parallel drills of seedlings quickly grow to form a dense carpet over the ground.’
      • ‘Hillis never got to grips with thinning out vegetable drills with a hoe, and did it on all fours, tying an old sack round her knees to save her trousers.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Sow (seed) with a drill:

    ‘crops drilled in autumn’
    • ‘The process had to start again with the field reploughed and new seeds drilled.’
    • ‘When planting here, to reach the moisture necessary for germination, farmers drill their seeds eight inches into the soil.’
    • ‘Seed is broadcast or drilled on the pastures in late winter or early spring.’
    • ‘Conventional alfalfa plantings involve several tillage operations to prepare a seedbed, followed by drilling the alfalfa seed.’
    • ‘Forage varieties can be drilled in May and just one harvest will provide three to six tons of high protein hay or silage.’
    • ‘Rye was drilled into wheat stubble in early August.’
    • ‘The seeds were drilled directly into the pasture.’
    • ‘Last year's downpours caused less wheat to be drilled in the autumn than has been normal in recent years.’
    • ‘Farther east in the Corn Belt, most producers plant their corn and drill their soybeans at the same time for better yields of both crops.’
    • ‘In France, about 20 pc of the equivalent winter wheat crop had not been drilled by December 1, and about 10 pc of the winter barley is unplanted.’
    • ‘There is still time, though, for winter wheat to be drilled and to produce reasonable yields.’
    • ‘Some millet still has not been drilled because growers are waiting for a rain to have at least some soil moisture for germination and emergence.’
    • ‘Because of the slow early growth of no-till beans, they should be drilled or planted in rows no wider than 15 inches.’
    1. 1.1 Plant (the ground) in furrows:
      ‘accurate ridging and drilling make hoeing much easier’
      • ‘They drilled 21 acres of seed and have calculated that the crop cost them just over £180 an acre to grow.’
      • ‘Because wheat emerges so quickly, weeds must be killed before drilling using tillage or contact herbicides.’
      • ‘Areas in fields which were more like small lakes than arable land have dried out and are now drilled with corn.’
      • ‘We're having another success with several fields of soybeans this year that were drilled as the season got too late.’
      • ‘I did all this in the school holidays, as well as ploughing, combining and seed drilling, to earn the money to go into business.’

Origin

Early 18th century (as a noun in the sense ‘small furrow’): perhaps from drill.

Pronunciation:

drill

/drɪl/

Main definitions of drill in English

: drill1drill2drill3drill4

drill3

noun

  • A dark brown baboon with a short tail and a naked blue or purple rump, found in the rainforests of West Africa.

    • ‘Drills once congregated by the thousands in the rainforest. Now they are among the rarest primates.’
    • ‘The Drill’s endangerment is primarily a result of hunting as well as habitat destruction.’
    • ‘One baboon-like monkey who is seriously endangered but still hunted illegally is the drill.’

Origin

Mid 17th century: probably a local word. Compare with mandrill.

Pronunciation:

drill

/drɪl/

Main definitions of drill in English

: drill1drill2drill3drill4

drill4

noun

  • [mass noun] A coarse twilled cotton or linen fabric:

    ‘sturdy clothes in drill, denim and linen’
    ‘top quality cotton drill with reinforced seams’
    • ‘Four years ago, I bought a beautiful purple trench coat in heavy cotton drill.’
    • ‘The fabrics include drills, denims, discharge prints, and embroidered material.’
    • ‘White drill and other cotton materials were available for men's shorts and shirts, and African tailors would quickly run up any required clothes on their hand or treadle sewing machines.’
    • ‘In the British army, khaki uniforms exist in a variety of shades and cloth, pale khaki drill for wear in hot climates and dark khaki barathea for the service dress of Guards officers being two examples.’
    • ‘Dressing utility does not mean cotton drill in shades of khaki, thanks to the innovation of our favourite denim lines and designers.’
    • ‘They are issued their DFCE kit, which includes a uniform of khaki drill.’
    • ‘Virtually every book published is a library-bound hard cover edition, side-sewen and reinforced with cotton drill.’
    • ‘The firm makes denims, drills, general protective clothing and gaberdines.’
    • ‘Cargo pants are available in all kinds of fabrics, from cotton drill to pale pink satin, and, frankly, they're none the better for it.’
    • ‘The bags are made of heavy cotton drill and have a top cover that's easily removable for washing.’
    • ‘Curriculum and uniform remain firmly those of the English public school of the 1930's, with khaki drill and the works of John Buchan still very much de rigueur.’

Origin

Early 18th century: abbreviation of earlier drilling, from German Drillich, from Latin trilix triple-twilled, from tri- three + licium thread.

Pronunciation:

drill

/drɪl/