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[chiz-uh l] /ˈtʃɪz əl/
a wedgelike tool with a cutting edge at the end of the blade, often made of steel, used for cutting or shaping wood, stone, etc.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Caelum.
verb (used with object), chiseled, chiseling or (especially British) chiselled, chiselling.
to cut, shape, or fashion by or as if by carving with a chisel.
to cheat or swindle (someone):
He chiseled me out of fifty dollars.
to get (something) by cheating or trickery:
He chiseled fifty dollars out of me.
verb (used without object), chiseled, chiseling or (especially British) chiselled, chiselling.
to work with a chisel.
to trick; cheat.
Origin of chisel
1325-75; Middle English < Anglo-French, variant of Old French cisel < Vulgar Latin *cīsellus, diminutive of *cīsus, for Latin caesus, past participle of caedere to cut, with -ī- generalized from prefixed derivatives; cf. excide
Related forms
chisellike, adjective


or (especially British) chiselled

[chiz-uh ld] /ˈtʃɪz əld/
cut, shaped, etc., with a chisel:
chiseled stone.
sharply or clearly shaped; clear-cut:
She has finely chiseled features.
1730-40; chisel + -ed2
Related forms
unchiseled, adjective
unchiselled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for chiselled
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Great brass castings were chiselled and finished according to his designs without his touching them with his hands.

    Marzio's Crucifix and Zoroaster F. Marion Crawford
  • On the other are chiselled the arms of the family to whom the Tower belongs.

    Columba Prosper Merimee
  • Finally the quality of the statue is enhanced by the care with which the bronze has been chiselled.

    Donatello David Lindsay, Earl of Crawford
  • Morse looked at him with a face cold as chiselled marble and as hard.

    Brand Blotters William MacLeod Raine
  • But its beauty and refinement of chiselled repose was heightened into absolute fascination by that preoccupied indifference.

    Mrs. Severn, Vol. 1 (of 3) Mary Elizabeth Carter
  • The work may be chiselled either in a vertical or a horizontal position.

    Woodwork Joints William Fairham
  • The facts were as cold as the stone on which the words were chiselled, and startling as well; so we turn to pleasanter scenes.

  • A more beautiful figure than hers even Skopas himself has not chiselled.

    Quo Vadis Henryk Sienkiewicz
  • Have you ever heard of a prince or a count who has painted a picture, or a nobleman who has chiselled a statue?

    The Precipice Ivan Goncharov
British Dictionary definitions for chiselled


carved or formed with or as if with a chisel
clear-cut: finely chiselled features


  1. a hand tool for working wood, consisting of a flat steel blade with a cutting edge attached to a handle of wood, plastic, etc. It is either struck with a mallet or used by hand
  2. a similar tool without a handle for working stone or metal
verb -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
to carve (wood, stone, metal, etc) or form (an engraving, statue, etc) with or as with a chisel
(slang) to cheat or obtain by cheating
Word Origin
C14: via Old French, from Vulgar Latin cīsellus (unattested), from Latin caesus cut, from caedere to cut
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for chiselled

See chizzle's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for chiselled



early 14c., from Anglo-French cisel, Old French cisel "chisel," in plural, "scissors, shears" (12c., Modern French ciseau), from Vulgar Latin *cisellum "cutting tool," from Latin caesellum, diminutive of caesus, past participle of caedere "to cut" (see -cide). Related: Chiseled; chiseling.


c.1500, "to break with a chisel," from chisel (n.). Slang sense of "to cheat, defraud" is first recorded in 1808 as chizzel; origin and connection to the older word are obscure (cf. slang sense of gouge); chiseler in this sense is from 1918. Related: Chiseled; chiseling.



"having sharp outlines," 1821, figurative past participle adjective from chisel (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for chiselled



  1. To cheat or defraud, esp in a petty way; deal unfairly; scam: Every time I buy a car part, he chisels a buck or two (1808+)
  2. To get without necessarily intending to repay or return; bum, mooch: Can I chisel a cigarette from you, pal? (1920s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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