Definition of tool in English:



  • 1A device or implement, especially one held in the hand, used to carry out a particular function.

    ‘gardening tools’
    • ‘The company is involved in the manufacture of pocket knives and cutting tools for DIY and gardening.’
    • ‘Most rusty implements, tools and hooks can be restored to almost their original form by simply leaving them in plain white vinegar for several hours.’
    • ‘The divers teamed up in groups of two or three, and each group carried with them cutting tools and lift bags.’
    • ‘And I got to use large numbers of power tools for a bit, which is always good.’
    • ‘These tools may have functioned as hafted knives or scrapers.’
    • ‘Clean and store outdoor lawn and patio furniture, gardening tools and barbecue equipment.’
    • ‘This way of life was to change when metal became available for making tools and implements, in the latter part of the third millennium BC.’
    • ‘As well as financial contributions, the group is urging volunteer gardeners to come forward or offer donations of gardening tools and equipment.’
    • ‘He said items such as sports equipment and gardening tools become items of interest for potential thieves.’
    • ‘As well as advice on how to deal with bogus callers, securing property and the home, there will be tips on safeguarding gardening tools and machinery.’
    • ‘A number of tools were stolen from sheds and the vandals uprooted vegetables and plants, throwing them around.’
    • ‘Next day I turned up again by taxi, carrying my bag of bike tools, and got out, prepared for a sweating quarter of an hour mending a bike when I should have been at work.’
    • ‘There are loads of gardening gadgets and new tools around to tempt the unwary shopper, but in my view most of these novelties will not stand the test of time and you would be unlikely to find them still in use by this time next year.’
    • ‘Dad had to borrow money to buy a set of tools for his apprenticeship.’
    • ‘These products are household items such as kitchen appliances, gardening tools and children's toys.’
    • ‘With the number of different tools used in this trade, knowledge of when and how to use the many implements is vital.’
    • ‘Each year a number of new gardening tools and gadgets become available.’
    • ‘There were hundreds of devices and tools inside the huge building.’
    • ‘Implements, tools, and equipment should be cleaned of soil and root debris before moving them to non-infested fields.’
    • ‘There will be exhibitors offering garden furniture, pots, wickerwork, gardening tools and implements old and new, wrought ironwork and various craft stalls.’
    implement, instrument, utensil, device, apparatus, gadget, appliance, machine, contrivance, contraption, mechanism, aid
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A thing used in an occupation or pursuit.
      ‘computers are an essential tool’
      ‘the ability to write clearly is a tool of the trade’
      • ‘As with any occupation, professionals need the right tools to perform their jobs effectively.’
      • ‘These tools should be fully exploited by the nutrition and public health communities to combat micronutrient malnutrition.’
      • ‘Computers are an essential tool for engineers and designers.’
      • ‘Diversity management is an important tool in exploiting opportunities and meeting these challenges.’
      • ‘And, to some degree, mathematics has evolved to exploit these new tools and techniques.’
      • ‘Its role as a diagnostic tool has recently been exploited.’
      • ‘Did they think puppetry was a useful tool in teaching?’
      • ‘What training tools, devices, and simulations do we need?’
      • ‘Models and monitored performance are essential management tools.’
      • ‘The students view cell phones as essential tools, yet they appear to loathe them.’
      • ‘In addition, new intellectual tools were exploited, especially from anthropology.’
      • ‘The hunger for a medium of personal expression is being exploited as a marketing tool by companies who work to create the impression of personal interaction.’
      • ‘One of the essential tools of any budding television and film producer is the ability to pitch a concept.’
      • ‘I can use any number of tools, from the powers of composition and imagination to the power of a computer, to make an image be what I want it to be.’
      • ‘Also, once this device is functional it will be useful as a tool to carry out basic research more productively.’
      • ‘He had the theoretical tools to perform quantitative calculations based largely on data from nuclear-physics laboratories.’
      • ‘Does your business have the tools to evaluate and implement change?’
      • ‘It is not executive vanity, but a tool of the trade.’
      • ‘Much work is still needed to develop reliable tools to exploit solution methods to predict the shape of proteins in solution.’
      • ‘They regard it as a rational tool for the implementation of policy, a technique that is available for practitioners to use in appropriate circumstances for the pursuit of national interests.’
    2. 1.2A person used or exploited by another.
      ‘the beautiful Estella is Miss Havisham's tool’
      • ‘He would follow instructions and became a tool to be exploited.’
      dupe, puppet, pawn, minion, lackey, flunkey, instrument, henchman, creature, cat's paw
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3Computing A piece of software that carries out a particular function, typically creating or modifying another program.
      • ‘Developers will be offered co-marketing money, free software and developer tools.’
      • ‘In addition, over 70 per cent of these security flaws could be exploited using readily available tools or without the need for any attack code.’
      • ‘The companies are working with open-source compiler developers to create software development tools for programmers.’
      • ‘These tools exploit the file structure of operating systems to recover ‘evidence’ that can be used in court.’
      • ‘Publishing a vulnerability is no guarantee that someone else won't write an exploit tool, and no guarantee that the vendor will fix it.’
  • 2A distinct design in the tooling of a book.

    1. 2.1A small stamp or roller used to make a tooled design.
      • ‘The drawing was removed, and a variety of modeling tools were used to tool the foil in relief.’
  • 3vulgar slang A man's penis.

    1. 3.1A stupid, irritating, or contemptible man.
      ‘that guy is such a tool’


  • 1[with object] Impress a design on (leather, especially a leather book cover)

    ‘volumes bound in green leather and tooled in gold’
    • ‘Some bikes had tooled leather offices attached to the handlebars.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Just pop those finely tooled leather suitcases in the back and point her in the general direction of somewhere hot and expensive.’
    • ‘He'd traded his breeches and tunic for finely tooled black leather - the working garb of an Assassin.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The saddle my mare wore was plain, while his had tooled designs cut into the leather of it.’
    • ‘This sounds like such an esoteric topic, yet in fact it follows a long period during which patrons and collectors sought out and valued decorated leather bindings tooled in gold and blind impressions.’
    • ‘Each cluster is made up of circular grapes of fiery black opals and delicately tooled gold leaves covered in translucent green enamel, spaced equally along the chain.’
    • ‘It's really a beautiful little piece of work, bound in leather that's been tooled with a lovely design of roses and vines.’
    • ‘First came a wonderfully tooled pair of soft doe-skin boots, delicate enough to wear with nice dresses, but sturdy enough to wear in everyday use.’
    1. 1.1Dress (stone) with a chisel.
      • ‘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
      View synonyms
  • 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’
    • ‘Both machines were less than adequate in all categories of performance but they did manage to change the rather staid thinking of the American military and to help aircraft factories tool up for the coming conflict.’
    • ‘Additionally, local sub-assemblers, component manufacturers, and parts suppliers might hesitate to invest in new and costly machines to tool up for a new design.’
    • ‘Apparently, they're tooling up for hardware production in May.’
    • ‘The gun merchant asked for an initial order of 300 grips, and Lane set about tooling up for the project.’
    • ‘One of the most disheartening things was to go into that prison and see a massive carpentry shop - fully equipped and fully tooled - empty.’
    • ‘He had tooled up for one level of demand and now faces an entirely different and, more importantly, elastic demand.’
    • ‘They are making just one million units a month right now and need time to tool up for the extra production.’
    • ‘Nonetheless they need a reasonable sales volume to justify the costs of tooling up for a new bullet, especially for a new bullet diameter.’
    • ‘The smaller aviation companies had also benefited from wartime orders and were tooling up for light aircraft production well before the final surrender documents had been signed.’
    • ‘A fully tooled factory could turn out several hundred models a week, if necessary.’
    • ‘It would take two to four years just to develop a new engine with the technology and years more to work it into new product plans and get plants tooled up to make the vehicles.’
    • ‘However it is currently manufactured only in left hand drive and the parent company is yet to be convinced that sales will warrant tooling up for a right hand drive version.’
    • ‘As tens of thousands of factories tooled up for their production runs, the machine tool industry was overwhelmed.’
    • ‘While tooling up for composite technology can be expensive, it hasn't prevented start-up manufacturers from getting involved.’
  • 3North American informal [no object] Drive or ride in a casual or leisurely manner.

    ‘tooling around town in a pink Rolls-Royce’
    • ‘And so begins the journey of a truly strange cinematic odd couple, tooling around in an open jeep trying to cajole the natives to exercise their rights.’
    • ‘The band tooled around North America in true indie punk style.’
    • ‘As I tooled around on city streets, I was permanently haunted by the thought that someone in an SUV would mistake me for a speed bump.’
    • ‘In the hit TV comedy the cousins tooled around the Georgia sticks, helping the downtrodden and getting into trouble.’
    • ‘Because I'd been tooling along at the same speed as everyone else - happily minding my own business - I'd neglected to make sure my eyes were firmly fixed on the speedo.’
    • ‘Another real-world analogy: you're tooling down the Interstate in your Chevy and hit a bump in the road.’
    • ‘But I think it would be fun to have one to tool around town, just about anywhere.’
    • ‘I'm tooling down the freeway between L.A. and the border.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We tooled around, had a pint or two and spoke of musical matters as well as academic.’
    • ‘We don't tool around in gigantic SUVs like the Americans - yet.’
    • ‘So you're tooling around checking out the sites in Calgary.’
    • ‘Sometimes he tools around Turku, some 145 kilometers west of Helsinki, in a van to test reception in hard-to-reach places.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘While they were here I made a one day visit to Seattle and then spent a few days tooling around the lower Mainland and the Island.’
    drive, bowl, ride, motor, travel
    View synonyms


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